Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Tar Heels in Friday College Football
Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: UNC QB Sam Howell
- Notre Dame vs. North Carolina highlights Friday's afternoon slate of college football matchups.
- Top-25 ACC opponents will put forward strength-on-strength as the Fighting Irish push for College Football Playoff contention and the Tar Heels attempt to rewrite the narrative on their season.
- Below, find Collin Wilson's comprehensive betting guide for Friday's marquee matchup, including in-depth matchup analysis, updated odds, plus Collin's pick between the Irish and the Heels.
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Odds
|Notre Dame Odds||-5 [BET NOW]|
|North Carolina Odds||+5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-189 / +155 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||64.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Irish spent a bye week getting healthy across the roster, but injuries on the offensive line will be a factor against North Carolina. Starting guard Tommy Kraemer and center Jarrett Patterson will both sit with injury after a combined 1,115 snaps on the 2020 season. Zeke Correll and Josh Lugg move into starting positions with a combined 79 snaps on the season.
Notre Dame ranks in the top 25 offensively in Line Yards and Havoc allowed, but all eyes will be on an offensive line with new starters. The Irish continue to run at a pace of 103rd in the nation with no explosiveness. Notre Dame is outside the top 95 in explosive plays on offense, but the defensive marks in expected points are just as notable.
Defensive coordinator Clark Lea has done one of his best jobs in the 2020 Irish defense. A top-20 rank in Success Rate is highlighted by top-10 marks in Havoc, Line Yards and Finishing Drives. Notre Dame has the ability to shut down the run and play tight coverage against the pass. The issue comes against the explosive pass.
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Notre Dame has allowed 13 opponent passes to exceed 30 yards. Safeties Kyle Hamilton and Shaun Crawford are two of the highest-graded players in coverage for the Irish, but the corner position has been a rotation of Clarence Lewis and TaRiq Bracy.
North Carolina Tar Heels
After losing to Virginia and Florida State, the Tar Heels posted 115 points against Wake Forest and Duke. The loss to the Seminoles came with North Carolina’s inability to stop the explosive run from dual-threat quarterback Jordan Travis. It was much of the same story against Virignia, as Brennan Armstrong not only passed for three touchdowns but collected another on the ground.
Teams with dual-threat quarterbacks have troubled a defense that is 87th in Rushing Success Rate and outside the top 100 in Line Yards and Stuff Rate. The good news for head coach Mack Brown is that he has one of the most explosive units on offense in all of college football.
Quarterback Sam Howell has targeted wide receiver Dyami Brown on 23 passes beyond 20 yards with the receiver dropping just one pass on the season. The Heels are a top 10 team in Success Rate and pass explosiveness with an Offensive Finishing Drives rank of 22nd.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Brian Kelly made specific mention of the glance route in his opening-week press conference. Howell’s ability to run the RPO and draw linebacker and safety eyeballs will be the No. 1 determining factor in this game.
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Notre Dame grades out with the 17th-best unit in coverage, ranking 28th in passes defended per game. Beyond those numbers, there may be a reason to think North Carolina will have success throwing downfield.
The toughest passing attack Notre Dame has seen to this point is Clemson. The Tigers posted a 52% Success Rate in passing plays and completed 11 passes over 15 yards. Specifically, Amari Rodgers has 11 avoided tackles on the season with five of them coming against the Irish. Clemson wide receiver Cornell Powell has just 43 targets on the season, but four of his six avoided tackles came against the Irish.
Notre Dame had the benefit of Clemson missing three starters on defense, with the primary production missing in pass defense. The Irish may still find plenty of offensive success against North Carolina, but the Heels’ passing attack may be too much for Notre Dame to stay undefeated.
Pick: North Carolina +5 or better.