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North Carolina vs. Miami Odds & Picks: Saturday Betting Value on the Tar Heels as Road Underdogs

North Carolina vs. Miami Odds & Picks: Saturday Betting Value on the Tar Heels as Road Underdogs article feature image

Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: The North Carolina Tar Heels.

  • Two top-25 ACC schools face off as Miami hosts North Carolina and its impressive offense.
  • Sam Howell is joined by a strong backfield to make UNC one of the best offenses in college football.
  • Darin Gardner explains why he likes the Tar Heels getting points on the road.

North Carolina vs. Miami Odds

North Carolina Odds +3 [BET NOW]
Miami (FL) Odds -3 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +140 / -175 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 70.5 [BET NOW]
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds updated Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

In a week that doesn’t exactly feature many marquee matchups, the game featuring Miami and North Carolina should be on everyone’s viewing slate.

This battle features one of the best quarterback battles of the season thus far, with North Carolina’s Sam Howell going toe-to-toe against Miami’s D’Eriq King.

The Hurricanes (8-1) currently sit at 10th in the College Football Playoff rankings, while the Tar Heels are sitting at 17th at the moment. Outside of the Clemson matchup two months back, North Carolina should be the Hurricanes’ toughest remaining test of the season.

On the other side, Miami really doesn’t have a signature victory thus far, but can it notch one against North Carolina’s lethal offense?

North Carolina Tar Heels


The Tar Heels have weapons everywhere you look on the offensive side of the ball. If the opposing defense has a weakness in any area, it will probably be exploited by this offense. North Carolina is able to both move the chains consistently and hit big plays at a very high rate.

Currently, the Tar Heels rank 11th in Success Rate and fourth in explosive play rate at 10.2%. What makes North Carolina so hard to defend is that it’s incredibly efficient in both the running and passing games.

Howell was incredible as a true freshman and is now keeping it up as a sophomore. He currently ranks fifth in the country in Pro Football Focus grade, plus he’s tied for sixth in yards per attempt.

His top target, Dyami Brown, has amassed 932 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 18.3 yards per catch. Among receivers with at least 75 targets, he ranks second behind only DeVonta Smith in Expected Points Added per play.

The Tar Heels are awesome in the passing game, but the rushing attack might be even better. The backfield carries are split almost evenly between Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, who are within two carries of each other. Williams’ elusiveness has been unbelievable, which has led to him averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

Williams has the highest rate of avoided tackles per carry of anyone in the past seven years, according to PFF. Unsurprisingly, he ranks first in the country in PFF grade at the position. Carter actually has more yards per carry (7.1) and ranks ninth in the nation in PFF grade.


North Carolina’s defense has gotten a healthy amount of criticism, but its metrics are not quite as bad as you might think. The Tar Heels rank 47th in Success Rate Allowed and 50th in Explosive Play Rate Allowed. They have been much better against the pass than the run, actually ranking 21st in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

The defensive line has been able to rush the quarterback quite well; the unit ranks 26th in Sack Rate.

However, the way to exploit this defense is through the running game. The Tar Heels are 93rd in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and have been bullied up front against better competition. On the defensive line, North Carolina ranks 105th in Line Yards.

If you look at Miami, though, it has had problems running the ball all year and is much better in the passing game. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Hurricanes’ subpar running game can move the ball against a weak Tar Heel run defense.

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Miami Hurricanes


Miami’s offense is best described as “boom or bust.” In terms of moving the chains consistently from drive to drive, Miami has not done well. It currently ranks 77th in Success Rate and 87th in First Down Rate.

The running game has played a big part in that, as Miami ranks 81st in Rushing Success Rate. However, the Hurricanes have hit big plays this season. They are currently sitting at 37th in Explosive Play Rate.

King has been one of the most valuable transfer additions of the season. He ranks 11th among all quarterbacks in PFF grade, regularly putting the offense on his back due to a weak supporting cast.

If you look at King’s receivers, he might have had better ones back when he was Houston’s quarterback. His top three receivers rank 75th, 270th and 301st at the position in PFF grade.

The offensive line has also done him no favors in the passing or running games. It ranks 95th in Sack Rate, 89th in Stuff Rate, 97th in Line Yards, and the offense as a whole ranks 100th in Havoc allowed. Miami will need another heroic performance from King to keep up with this UNC offense.


The Hurricanes have always been a disruptive defense, and this year is no different. Miami ranks 11th in Havoc rate, with most of that coming from the defensive line (11th in DL Havoc and 43rd in DB Havoc). Miami’s edge tandem of Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche has it sitting at 32nd in Sack Rate.

In total, Miami ranks 47th in EPA per play allowed and 53rd in Success Rate Allowed. Although the front seven has been really efficient in terms of rushing the passer, its run defense has been suspect. The Hurricanes are sitting at 71st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

Remember how UNC’s Williams was breaking records in terms of missed tackles forced? The defense he’s facing this time around ranks 102nd in second-level yards allowed to running backs. Williams’ record-setting pace should continue this week.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

I’ll admit that I have been higher on North Carolina than the market all season, which has led me to be burned a few times. I have the Tar Heels projected as 4-point favorites over the Hurricanes, which is alarming, to tell the truth.

Having that big of a gap between your numbers and the closing line is probably a bad sign if it’s happening frequently, but this is an outlier for me.

Even though North Carolina has slipped up on more than one occasion, its offense is far and away the best unit on any side of the ball in this game. I’m not sold at all on a Miami team that’s best win was a one-point victory over Virginia Tech, which came in a game in which the Hurricanes had negative net yards per play.

I love the Tar Heels catching 3 plus the hook, and wouldn’t hate a moneyline play or even some derivative spreads as well.

Pick: North Carolina +3.5.

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