In the NFL, 2 teams headed in opposite directions can create a volatile betting circumstance. The vastly differing scoreboard results do not guarantee a physical mismatch on the pro level. A team can get motivated, spring a few new wrinkles as an underdog and make sudden waves – such as the New Orleans Saints in Week 4.
On the NCAA level, a wager on a swift-rising favorite can provide more safety, especially against a hapless opponent. But it still must be researched well. Just because the ‘dog might not be able to compete on the line of scrimmage for 4 quarters doesn’t mean the touted team will cover the point spread.
Notre Dame’s trip to North Carolina may seem like a trap game for the Irish. UNC does hail from one of the best conferences in football, and has had to deal with a difficult schedule while going 1-4. Despite impressing critics, ND does not have a signature win on the season, missing their one chance against Georgia in Week 2.
Regardless, the Irish are installed as a heavy favorite on the road.
Who: Notre Dame Fighting Irish at North Carolina Tar Heels
When: Saturday, October 7th, 3:30 PM EST
Where: Kenan Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Lines: Notre Dame (-16) at UNC (+16) / O/U Total: (64.5)
The Tar Heels’ Achilles Heel might be run defense. No, we’re not just thinking of the Week 4 debacle against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets run wild on the ground against anyone they beat, but 3 teams UNC has lost to – Louisville, California and Duke – employ shotgun-spread running games similar to Notre Dame under Brian Kelly.
North Carolina allowed 7.1 yards per carry to Louisville. Against Duke, they gave up 9 ypc to unheralded RB Brittain Brown. The one anomaly in the UNC rush defense was the performance against Cal. But the Bears passed for 363 yards and 4 touchdowns while winning 35-30.
Can the Irish take advantage of the hosts’ softness on defense? UND has simply rolled over all but one of its quintet of opponents – the one road-block being Georgia, which completely shut down the Brandon Wimbush-led Irish running game. The Bulldogs wanted Wimbush to have to beat them through the air and the young QB could not, finishing only 19 of 38 with 0 touchdown passes.
The Notre Dame offense soared, however, against ACC opponent Boston College in a 29-point rout.
The O/U line opened at 62 and headed straight upward – that probably indicates bettors thinking that the Irish will wear down and trounce the Tar Heels, piling up points in the 2nd half.
It’s definitely more likely than not. Take the Irish to cover at (+16) and consider a 1 or 2-unit wager on the over.