As if expectations weren’t already soaring for Florida State, DraftKings Sportsbook nudged the bar up a few notches higher on Friday with the release of its initial win projections for the upcoming season.

Coming off their first double-digit win season with most of their key contributors back, the Seminoles are the chic pick to win the ACC and perhaps even sneak into the final edition of the 4-team Playoff era.

And DraftKings is buying into the hype.

DraftKings Sportsbook is currently available in 21 states, and new customers can receive a bonus of up to $150 in bets by using a promo code at DraftKings with a minimum deposit of $5.

It has set the over/under for coach Mike Norvell’s veteran team at 10, the highest among ACC teams, slightly ahead of defending league champion Clemson at 9.5.

North Carolina, with its Heisman hopeful quarterback Drake Maye, is next at 8.5 wins, followed by Louisville and Miami at 7.5, Duke, NC State, Pittsburgh and Syracuse at 6.5, Boston College and Wake Forest at 5.5, Virginia Tech at 4.5, Georgia Tech at 4 and Virginia at 3.5.

Keep in mind that these are very early projections and things could change dramatically between now and September because of injury and a still active transfer portal.

But if you’re the type that likes to get in on the action before everybody else, here are some best bets. 

Along with a few you probably want to avoid.

Best bets

Clemson (Over 9.5 minus-140, Under 9.5 plus-120)

The Tigers aren’t exactly flying under the radar. Not after missing out on the Playoff for the past 2 seasons and the high-profile offseason hiring of Garrett Riley to inject new life into their offense. 

But some of the pressure might be lifted thanks to all the attention being heaped on Florida State. The over/under of 9.5 also leaves at least some margin for error. Other than a sneaky tough opener at Duke on Labor Day night and the traditional season-ending Palmetto Bowl rivalry game at South Carolina, Clemson’s toughest tests – against the Seminoles on Sept. 23, Notre Dame on Nov. 4 and UNC on Nov. 18 – are all at home.

Assuming that Cade Klubnik is an upgrade from DJ Uiagalelei and the defense plays up to its usual standards, at least 10 wins is almost a certainty.

Duke (Over 6.5 minus-110, Under 6.5 minus-110)

The Blue Devils have a tough schedule, for sure. Their 2023 opponents include the ACC’s 2 overwhelming favorites Florida State and Clemson, along with nonconference foes Notre Dame, Northwestern and a UConn team that’s no longer the pushover it once was.

Even with the added degree of difficulty and more respect from opposing teams, it’s hard see Mike Elko’s team taking a significant step back. Why? Duke returns virtually every key player from last year’s surprising 9-win squad – including quarterback Riley Leonard, his top 4 receivers, 3 most productive running backs and a potential high-round NFL Draft pick on the offensive line.

Wake Forest (Over 5.5 minus-150, Under 5.5 plus-130)

At some point, people outside Winston-Salem are going to realize that Dave Clawson is a pretty darn good coach who has built a solid, consistent program with the Deacons. And that losing a veteran starting quarterback, even one as heralded as Sam Hartman, isn’t the end of the world.

Mitch Griffis is no Hartman. But he’s not chopped liver, either. With an offensive system that was producing huge numbers even before Hartman arrived – check out the stats of Jamie Newman and John Wolford – in a program that has won 7 or more games in each of the past 6 non-COVID seasons – that 5.5 projection is tantalizingly low.

Worst bets

Florida State (Over 10 minus-110, Under 10 minus-110)

It’s not that the Seminoles are set up to underachieve. As high as their projection might be, they have all the elements to exceed it.

That’s the problem.

They have a Heisman candidate at quarterback, proven playmakers in the backfield and their receiving corps, their defense is anchored by one of the nation’s best pass rushers and bolstered by a top transfer in the secondary. But they also have a schedule that starts with a pivotal neutral field test against LSU and an ACC showdown at Clemson, where the Tigers haven’t lost to an ACC opponent since 2016.

Even though Florida State could get an extra crack at exceeding its projection if it qualifies for the ACC Championship Game, the high number and the variables involved make this a dangerous play.

North Carolina (Over 8.5 minus-145, Under 8.5 plus-125)

Mack Brown has used the transfer portal to surround Maye with some talented receivers, and the defense can’t help but be better in its 2nd season under Gene Chizik. 

Still, matching last year’s 9-win production is a big ask considering the number of close games the 2022 Tar Heels played. Five of their victories were by a field goal or less. Three of their 5 losses came by 4 points or fewer.

With so many games that could go either way on a schedule Brown is already complaining about – finishing with consecutive road games at Clemson and rival NC State – 8.5 wins seems awfully ambitious.

Boston College (Over 5.5 minus-120, Under 5.5 plus-100)

The Eagles will be playing for coach Jeff Hafley’s job this fall. With a schedule conducive for improvement over last year’s 3-9 disappointment, it’s not unreasonable to think that BC could be this year’s version of last season’s Syracuse.

The problem is that there’s very little margin for error.

If the Eagles can’t run the table in their 6 winnable games – against Northern Illinois, Holy Cross, Army and fellow ACC bottom feeders Virginia, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech – they’ll have to find a way to pull off at least 1 upset to hit the over.

With an offense that lost its 1 reliable playmaker from a unit that was among the lowest-scoring in the ACC last season, the odds aren’t in their favor.