No.10 Miami Hurricanes (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-4 SU, 0-4-1 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date and Time: Thursday October 17th, 2013. 7:30PM Eastern
Where: Kenan Stadium Chapel Hill, N.C.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mia -8/UNC +8
Over/Under Total: OFF
Primetime football returns to the ACC this Thursday when the North
Carolina Tar Heels host the surging 10th ranked Miami Hurricanes
inside Kenan Stadium. Before the year began, North Carolina was predicted
by many to challenge for the ACC Championship. Instead the Tar Heels have
been one of the biggest disappointments in the conference with a measly
1-4 record and a lone victory over Middle Tennessee. Now Larry Fedora’s
Tar Heels are in desperate need for a big win to turn their season around
and they will have a great opportunity this Thursday in front of a nationally
The visiting Hurricanes have had just the opposite type of season exploding out of the gates with an undefeated 5-0 record highlighted by a big marquee win over Florida. After nearly a decade of mediocrity, Al Golden has the Hurricanes back in the national spotlight and bantering the number 10 ranking in college football. So what has caused the Hurricanes vast improvement? I like to contribute their success to a vastly improved defense. The Hurricanes have fielded several talented offenses over the last few years but they were also giving up 30-40 points per game in high scoring affairs. This year Miami has given up just 16 points per game to sport the 9th best scoring defense in the country. Furthermore the Hurricanes defense has given up just 307 yards per game (12th in FBS) which is an obvious major improvement compared to recent years.
Speaking of defenses, North Carolina has had a different tale of the tape on the defensive side of the football. The Tar Heels have been flat awful giving up 31.4 points (95th in FBS) and 436 yards (94th in FBS) per game. Second year head coach Larry Fedora was brought to Chapel Hill to revamp a struggling offense but nobody told Tar Heel fans that the defense would leave in the interim. Yet North Carolina’s defense has been their Achilles Heel, pun intended.
Still North Carolina has the playmakers on offense to post big numbers and possibly pull off an upset. Senior QB Bryn Renner is a disciplined leader that has a big arm to match. Renner was held out of the Tar Heels’ last outing in a 27-17 loss to Virginia Tech with a foot injury. However Renner is expected to return this Thursday as the star quarterback had some extra time to heal with North Carolina off this past weekend. If Renner can get going early and frustrate Miami’s defense, North Carolina has the receiving core to keep the pressure on. WR Quinshad Davis is a future starter on Sundays and tight end Eric Ebron is a reliable target to keep the chains moving as well. I believe North Carolina has to move the football well through the air to contend in this football game and it will be interesting to see just how well they do with Renner returning from that foot injury.
On the other side of the field, Miami has all of the offensive talent to keep North Carolina’s struggling defense doing just that, struggling. Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson is one of the best young tailbacks in the ACC and has been a great compliment to the passing offense with QB Stephen Morris. Johnson has racked up 572 yards through the first 5 games and 4 touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile Morris is having a solid season throwing the football by completing 62% passing for 950 yards with 9 scores and 4 picks. I expect Miami’s balance on offense will cause problems for that struggling North Carolina defense as long as Morris protects the football and the Hurricanes avoid those dreaded turnovers which has haunted them in recent big games.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Nice line bookies! Plus 8 makes it feel like a touchdown but it’s actually two scores. The problem here is that the Tar Heels look like they have no chance in this matchup and they’ve even played extremely poorly recently. Additionally, North Carolina is just 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games as underdogs. The problem here is that UNC plays Miami well and you better believe they’re going to give the Canes everything they can handle Thursday night. The Heels may not win the game, but there’s a good chance that they cover here. There are going to be a lot of broke-ass bettors on Thursday night. Don’t be one of them! Hold your breath, plug your nose and bet UNC +8!
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