- BetOnline favors Duke (+250) to win its first ACC regular-season title in a full decade
- Virginia (+300) will be hard-pressed to repeat last season’s success after losing their three-top scorers
- Louisville (+400) and Nigerian star Jordan Nwora are picking up a lot of offseason hype
Duke may be a college basketball behemoth with a steady pipeline to the best high-school talent in the country, but they’re no sure thing to win the Atlantic Coast Conference’s regular-season championship.
In fact, the Blue Devils haven’t accomplished that feat since 2009-10, despite winning three ACC tournament titles and a national championship in the nine years since.
Let’s review the odds to win the 2020 ACC regular-season championship at BetOnline and pick a winner.
ODDS TO WIN THE ACC
THE FAVORITE: DUKE BLUE DEVILS
This week’s news that Duke landed its third five-star prospect for the 2020 season is yet another reminder that Mike Krzyzewski never stops hustling.
After enjoying Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett last year, Coach K’s freshman class this season includes a pair of five-star frontcourt recruits (Vernon Carey Jr. and Matthew Hurt) and two top-40 prospects on the wing (Wendell Moore and Cassius Stanley, who just broke Zion’s max vertical leap record).
Duke’s 2019 class is looking stacked
No. 4 recruit Vernon Carey Jr.
No. 8 recruit Matthew Hurt
No. 23 recruit Wendell Moore
No. 29 recruit Cassius Stanley
No. 32 recruit Boogie Ellis pic.twitter.com/dO7AOxPJK4
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 22, 2019
Carey Jr., the No. 5 player nationally, has an NBA-ready physique (6-foot-10-inch, 270 pounds) and tons of offensive potential. While he dominates down low, sophomore point guard Tre Jones will add a steady presence in the backcourt.
THE CHAMPS: VIRGINIA CAVALIERS
The Cavaliers have won four regular-season ACC championships in the past six years, including last year when they also happened to win the national title.
The problem is that all three of Virginia’s leading scorers (De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy) left for the NBA after accounting for 118 of the Cavaliers’ 147 points in the Final Four.
Tony Bennett turned down a raise while extending his contract by another year, asking that the money be used to pay his staff more and invest in Virginia’s programs https://t.co/p6xLp5nsOx
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 16, 2019
Tony Bennett brought in a highly-regarded recruiting class to join a solid core of returning players (Kihei Clark, Mamadi Diakite, Braxton Key), but it’s hard not to see the team taking a step back.
THE HYPE: LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
After settling a wrongful termination lawsuit with former coach Rick Pitino this week, Louisville is ready to turn the page on the FBI investigation that revealed the school’s involvement in a pay-for-play scheme.
The Cardinals’ next chapter looks like it will be written by junior Jordan Nwora, who won the ACC’s Most Improved Player of the Year award after leading the team with 17.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last year.
.@JayBilas’ pick for ACC Player of the Year: @LouisvilleMBB’s @JordanNwora
Who’s your pick? ? pic.twitter.com/rq0c4anqIZ
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) September 13, 2019
Here’s what ESPN College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas said about the 6-foot-7 Nigerian:
“Jordan Nwora is an incredibly talented player and he can really shoot it and rebounds at his position…. I think you’re going to see a player as a more mature man as a junior and is ready to really take off.”
If Nwora can play himself into the National Player of the Year discussion, the Cardinals might have a shot at the ACC championship.