North Carolina vs. Miami Odds, Picks: Bet Drake Maye, Tar Heels Offense
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Davis Maye (North Carolina)
- The North Carolina Tar Heels travel to Coral Gables on Saturday to take on the Miami Hurricanes in Saturday afternoon college football action.
- Drake Maye has been a revelation for the Tar Heels under center, and we're expecting him to put up another solid performance today.
- Read on for Mike Ianniello's full betting preview for North Carolina vs. Miami.
North Carolina vs. Miami Odds
After hiring Mario Cristobal and investing more into the NIL space this offseason, many people were asking, is The U back?
Turns out, no.
The preseason favorite to win the Coastal division is just 2-2 and is coming off a loss to Texas A&M followed by a brutal upset loss at home to Middle Tennessee State.
North Carolina, on the other hand, was expected to take a step back after losing quarterback Sam Howell to the NFL draft, but is probably pretty satisfied with its 4-1 start.
The Tar Heels escaped two scares on the road against Sun Belt foes, dropped a game to Notre Dame and then picked up a big conference win against Virginia Tech.
The Tar Heels have three straight wins in this series, but if the Hurricanes still want to make a run at the Coastal division title, they’ll likely need to get a win in this matchup.
It has been a tail of two sides for North Carolina this season. The offense has been explosive, fun and exciting, but the defense has been dreadful, lackluster and embarrassing.
Everyone thought this offense would take a significant step back with Howell moving on. However, redshirt freshman Drake Maye has stepped in, and he has been even better than Howell.
Maye is competing 69% of his passes and averaging 318.8 yards per game. He also leads the country with 19 touchdown passes and has just one interception.
Maye has plenty of weapons, led by one of the best receivers in the country in Josh Downs. North Carolina is 20th in the country in Passing Success Rate.
On the ground, running back Omarion Hampton is averaging over 5.2 yards per carry, and Maye has great mobility, as well.
But oh boy, this defense is bad. We all saw UNC get shredded for 40 points in the fourth quarter against Appalachian State. The defense also allowed 45 points and 576 yards to the Fighting Irish and their backup quarterback.
Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik was brought in to run the defense and the Tar Heels now rank 106th in Success Rate against the pass and 119th in Success Rate against the run.
They don’t create Havoc, don’t force turnovers and every opposing offense that gets into the red zone scores.
After finishing the season on an absolute tear, Tyler Van Dyke was earning first-round NFL draft hype this offseason. He finished 2021 averaging 366 yards per game with 20 touchdowns over the last six games.
But former head coach Manny Diaz is off to Penn State and former offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee is now the head coach at SMU. Cristobal hired Josh Gattis from Michigan as his offensive coordinator, but the offense has been incredibly underwhelming.
Van Dyke is averaging just 200 yards per game with four total touchdowns and three interceptions.
There is no more damning evidence of Cristobal’s struggles with an offense than Justin Herbert’s immediate success in the NFL compared to his play at Oregon.
The one strength of this Miami offense has been its rushing game, as it ranks fourth in Success Rate. Both Henry Parrish Jr. and Thaddius Franklin Jr. have been very effective as Jaylan Knighton battles injuries.
Miami’s defense looked solid to start to the season against three teams that cannot throw the ball. Then it was torched by Middle Tennessee for 408 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
The Canes ditched the turnover chain and have forced just one turnover over the last two games.
Kevin Steele’s unit has, however, been terrific against the run this season. It ranks fifth in the nation in Rush Success Rate Allowed and has surrendered just 2.8 yards per carry.
The Canes were super young last year and returned a ton of production on the defense, led by leading tackler Corey Flagg Jr. and safety James Williams.
North Carolina vs. Miami Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how North Carolina and Miami match up statistically:
North Carolina Offense vs. Miami Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Miami Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||29||18|
|Seconds per Play||23.5 (19)||26.2 (61)|
|Rush Rate||51.1% (83)||52.8% (71)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
North Carolina vs. Miami Betting Pick
This handicap comes down to one very key metric: Explosiveness.
Miami ranks 130th in the country at defending Explosiveness and has been especially bad at defending big passing plays, ranking 129th in the FBS.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Chase Cunningham averaged 25 yards per completion and completed four nice passes over 69 yards in the upset against the Canes. Even the Aggies completed multiple passes of 25 yards, and they have the least explosive offense in history.
Enter Maye and the Tar Heels. This UNC offense ranks first in the nation as the most explosive offense. Maye has a cannon for an arm and has completed 11 passes of 30+ yards this year, the fifth most in the country.
Maye has a 98.1 Pro Football Focus Grade on Deep (20+) Passes this year, the second-highest mark in college football. His 16 Big Time Throws this year are the second most, and he has an average depth of target of 11.1 yards.
North Carolina’s top two receivers Downs and Antoine Green both battled injuries early in the year, but now are back and healthy. They are have exploded for 361 yards and five touchdowns over the last two games.
— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) September 24, 2022
We know this North Carolina defense has serious issues, but the Heels came off their bye week with a dominant performance, allowing just 10 points and 273 total yards to Virginia Tech.
The Hokies managed just three trips past the Tar Heels’ 40-yard line all game.
The one unit in this game that I trust is the North Carolina offense, as Maye and these receivers should have no problem picking up big plays against the Hurricanes defense. Miami is one of the least explosive teams in the nation and will need to slowly march down the field each time to keep pace.
With the Canes looking out of sorts on offense right now, and given the improvement we saw for the Tar Heels' defense last week, they should get enough stops to let Maye carry them to a win. If I’m catching over a field goal, give me the Tar Heels.