Miami vs. North Carolina Odds, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s First-Half Total (October 16)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Howell.
- The Miami Hurricanes and North Carolina Tar Heels meet in Saturday college football action at 3:30 p.m. ET.
- The ACC Coastal Division was essentially supposed to come down to this game, but both teams have underwhelmed up to this point.
- Check out Collin Wilson's betting guide for the ACC game below, including odds, picks, and predictions based on his analysis.
Miami vs. North Carolina Odds
|North Carolina Odds||-7.5|
|Moneyline||+240 / -305|
|Over/Under||63.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
Every preseason prediction included the Coastal competition coming down to Miami and North Carolina. Halfway through the month of October, North Carolina stands at 2-3, while the Hurricanes are 0-1.
The Tar Heels’ loss to Virginia Tech may have sealed the deal for head coach Mack Brown in making the ACC Championship game after being considered a dark horse to compete for the National Championship.
For Miami, a lone conference loss to Virginia does nothing to knock the Hurricanes out of contention in the Coastal. Head coach Manny Diaz must run through the rest of the division and beat NC State and Florida State from the Atlantic to compete for the conference title.
The game in Chapel Hill not only serves as an ACC knockout, but a loss severely diminishes the probability of making it to bowl season.
Miami vs. North Carolina Betting Preview
Tyler Van Dyke Show
Despite all the hype after transferring from Houston, quarterback D’Eriq King may have played his last college football game against Michigan State. King had season-ending surgery this week, leaving only a seventh-year medical redshirt as the only option to return to FBS play in 2022.
After finishing the 2018 season with a combined 50 touchdowns, the quarterback will end 2021 with just three through the air and no rushing touchdowns.
Miami now turns to Tyler Van Dyke to take over duties after a 15-of-29 performance in a loss to Virginia.
No King? No prob.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 1, 2021
The great news for Van Dyke is the similar ranks in pass rush and coverage between the North Carolina and Virginia defenses. The former baseball prospect targeted 10 different Hurricanes players to finish with a touchdown and no interceptions against Virginia.
Van Dyke had three big-time throws and just one turnover-worthy play, a positive factor considering the Hurricanes’ rank of 86th in Havoc Allowed.
Miami’s new quarterback had a 39% drop in adjusted completion rate in pressured dropbacks, but that has not been the forte of the Tar Heels defensive front.
Where is Miami’s Havoc?
The Hurricanes are known as the center of the universe when it comes to defensive chaos but have been rather quiet in the Havoc department through 2021.
Through 364 defensive snaps, Miami has caused just two fumbles and generated only 17 pass breakups. It boasts a top-five rank in tackles for loss per game, an area in which the North Carolina offense ranks outside the top 100.
— ©️CANE8️⃣9️⃣ (@CanesNumber1) October 12, 2021
The defense has had struggles in plenty of areas besides Havoc.
Manny Diaz’s defense ranks bottom-five nationally in both tackle grading and Finishing Drives. A coverage grade of 117th falls on corners Te’Cory Couch and Tyrique Stevenson, as both have taken the most targets this season by opposing quarterbacks.
Couch has missed 10 tackles so far this season, leading to a defensive passing downs explosiveness rank of 122nd for the Hurricanes.
Howell Needs Less Havoc
Quarterback Sam Howell was expected to be a major player in the run for the Heisman Trophy, but the Heels’ season has been derailed in three ACC losses to Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
Howell’s production has decreased in comparison to the 2020 season, specifically in the area of interceptions. The Tar Heels quarterback threw 14 in the previous two seasons with over 900 dropbacks, but through half of the games played this season, the quarterback has logged five picks.
Fortunately for UNC, the deep ball is still there. Howell has recorded nine big-time throws and just a single turnover-worthy play past 20 yards this season.
Most PASS TDs of 30+ yards among Power 5 QBs:
Sam Howell – 8 🔥pic.twitter.com/JlQbjn3ZgA
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 6, 2021
As with most quarterbacks, pressured pockets equal bad results. Howell has an adjusted completion percentage drop of 13% in pressured dropbacks with a target drop rate three times that of a clean pocket.
This is still one of the best offenses in the nation in explosiveness, particularly in passing downs.
UNC’s Middle Eight Awareness Must Improve
While the North Carolina defense has struggled to thwart opposing offenses, clock management has been an issue throughout the season.
The Middle Eight is stat that calculates point differential from the last four minutes of the second quarter through the first four minutes of the third quarter.
North Carolina owns a rank of 121st in comparison to Miami at 34th in the nation. For any investor looking to live bet, Miami should be penciled in if it’s to receive the ball in the second half.
The Middle Eight is not the only category where the Heels have struggled. North Carolina is outside the top 80 in coverage and tackling grading, while special teams and Defensive Havoc have also taken a severe drop from seasons past.
Miami vs. North Carolina Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Miami and North Carolina match up statistically:
Miami Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
North Carolina Offense vs. Miami Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||60||80|
|Plays per Minute||9||48|
|Rush Rate||50.7% (87)||54.6% (67)|
Miami vs. North Carolina Betting Pick
There are weather concerns forecasted for this game, as Kenan Memorial Stadium has near 10 mph winds and a 25% of chance of rain throughout the game.
No matter if weather is a factor or not, this is expected to be a high-tempo game. Tar Heels offensive coordinator Phil Longo has been known for an uptempo offense, but the early-season offensive identity search has dropped North Carolina’s overall plays per minute.
The question is whether or not Miami will continue a top-10 tempo with offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee utilizing Van Dyke rather than King under center.
The Virginia game saw the Hurricanes fall to more than 26 seconds per play, suggesting that Lashlee slowed the offense down for his new quarterback.
Our Action Network projection for the total sits at 63.5, close to the current market. The two biggest key totals in this range are 62 and 65, as an under would be the look on the latter of the two numbers.
While it is a limited sample, Brown has not done well with time off. The 2019 Tar Heels took a loss to Pittsburgh after a bye week, with the same happening in 2020 against Notre Dame. Both the Panthers and Irish got out of the gate hot in the first quarter after North Carolina’s defense had extra time to prepare.
Miami’s tempo decline with Van Dyke under center should be monitored, but these two defenses are struggling in stopping red zone attempts and explosive plays.
The Hurricanes are bottom-five in Defensive Finishing Drives and 122nd in defending passing downs explosiveness.
As Howell looks to dice up the Miami defense, there are avenues for Van Dyke against a Tar Heels defense that does not pressure the quarterback.
Expect explosive plays and poor tackling out of both teams early in the game.