North Carolina 2018 Betting Preview: Heels Can Rebound With Favorable Schedule
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Anthony Ratliff-Williams
North Carolina 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +400000
- To win the ACC: +13500
- To win the ACC Coastal: +2500
- Win Total: 5.5 -115
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North Carolina 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 6.2
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North Carolina Over 5.5 Wins -115
There is plenty of anxiety throughout Tar Heel nation after last year’s 3-9 season. Head coach Larry Fedora dealt with every plague you can imagine — from injuries to inefficiencies. North Carolina scored more than 21 points just twice in ACC play, a 34-31 victory over Pitt and 47-35 loss to Louisville … both of which had special teams pad the final point total.
Not only did the UNC offense rank 115th in third down conversions and 123rd in time of possession, but it also had 22 turnovers lost. It was a bad 2017, to say the least. Fedora desperately needed a reboot ahead of this season.
If the offensive line can find stability, UNC has plenty of weapons for whomever wins the quarterback battle. There is definitely reason for optimism in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina ranks 30th overall in returning production, and avoids Clemson, Florida State and Louisville on the schedule. As a result, the Tar Heels have the third-easiest strength of schedule of all ACC teams, per ESPN’s FPI.
The schedule has two directional schools (East Carolina and Western Carolina), which should serve as check marks in the win column. UNC also will play a number of games as a short underdog, but in favorable scheduling spots.
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The Heels will open the season seeking revenge for their 2017 home opener upset loss to Cal. They’ll also benefit from a bye week before hosting Virginia Tech, while N.C. State and Georgia Tech both travel to Chapel Hill on the second leg of back-to-back road games. And a “road trip” to Duke involves getting on a bus for 25 minutes.
One of North Carolina’s most intriguing games will come in its Week 3 home opener against Central Florida. SouthPoint in Las Vegas opened North Carolina at +11, but that quickly got knocked down to +3.5. If all breaks right, UNC has a realistic shot of starting 4-0 ahead of a prime-time date at Miami to end September.
If UNC can increase its offensive efficiency in the run game, protect the ball a little better and get a little more linebacker havoc (114th in 2017), over 5.5 wins -115 will have no issue cashing. The schedule really sets up favorably for North Carolina to make a bowl.