College football action within the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday afternoon and we will see the Miami Hurricanes rumble with the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Canes enter this game at 2-3 on the year, while the Tar Heels come in at 3-3.
It Has Been A Slow Start For The CanesMiami has gone just 2-3 out the gate and they have alternated wins and losses along the way. If the trend holds true, then they should win this game. We shall see. Miami brought back a wealth of talent from last year's 8-3 squad and they were expected to challenge for the ACC Coastal title, but it doesn't seem like that is going to happen. Miami has not played in two weeks and they come in off of a 30-28 home loss to Virginia. Their pass defense let them down in the contest as they allowed the Cavaliers to throw for 268 yards. Miami is now 94th in the nation in pass defense and that is not good news as they are about to face a North Carolina offense that is 23rd in the nation in passing. It could be a long game if the Heels get their passing game going.
The Miami offense hasn't been bad, as they have averaged 30.4 ppg and they are 31st in the nation in passing. Still, it is not as good as they have been hoping for, especially with D'Eriq King returning at QB. King is out for the year, so in the loss to Virginia, it was Tyler Van Dyke that got the start, and he threw for 203 yards with a TD and no INTs. The running game had a good showing against Virginia as the Canes ran for 169 yards and leading the was Cam'ron Harris, who had 111 yards and two TDs. He now has 211 yards rushing and four TDs in the last two games and will be called upon a lot in this one as the Canes look to control the clock and keep that powerful North Carolina offense on the sidelines.
What Is Wrong With The HeelsAt the beginning of the year, the North Carolina Tar Heels were picked to win the ACC Coastal and possibly be a threat to Clemson in the ACC Title game. Now, the Tar Heels are sitting at 3-3 on the year and just looking to get over the .500 mark. It has not been the season they were hoping for and they come in off of a horrible home loss to a Florida State team that is in total disarray. North Carolina was favored by 18 points in the 35-25 loss. Sam Howell did not have his best game throwing the ball as he hist just 17 of his 32 pass attempts for two TDs and an INT. Overall, he has thrown for 1697 yards with 16 TDs and five INTs and will be taking aim at a struggling Miami pass defense. Howel has thrown for 497 yards with three TDs and no INTs in two career starts against the Canes.
The ground game was strong against the Seminoles as they ran for 229 yards in the contest. Howell led the way with 111 yards and he has now rushed for 396 yards with three TDs on the year. He has been using his legs a lot more than the last two years, but we note that Miami has held him to -4 yards rushing in his two starts against them. The Canes are 57th against the run this year, so it's not like he will be facing a dominant run defense in this one. The Carolina defense has not been great in ranking 49th against the pass and 82nd against the run while allowing 26.7 ppg. The Noles ran for 238 yards on them last week and Miami could be able to get their run game going in this one.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Tar Heels are off an embarrassing home loss to Florida State as they continue to have a mediocre season overall. They will get their act together in this one as the Heels are facing a Miami team that had their own bad home loss a couple of weeks ago and is without their starting QB for the rest of the season. Miami will score some points on this bad North Carolina defense but it will not be nearly enough to cover the spread. The Heels have an explosive offense, led by dual0threat QB Sam Howell and once the ground game gets going for them, Howell will take aim at a poor Miami pass defense. I will look for North Carolina to bounce back in a big way against a Miami team that could very well miss bowl season. Lastly, the Hurricanes are 4-14 ATS in their last 18 games in October while the Heels are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight-up loss, plus the home team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine games in this series.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Heels have struggled on defense this year, but I see it doing enough in this one to keep the scoring down overall. Miami will need to run the ball a lot more now that D'Eriq King is out for the season and that will eat up plenty of the clock, plus the Heels can be run on some. SAhortening the game is the only shot the Canes have at winning this one as they will not win a shootout with the Heels. North Carolina will get their fair share of points in this one, but Miami will not score enough to push the game over the total. Lastly, the Under is 16-5 in Miami's last 21 games as a road underdog and 4-0 in North Carolina's last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.