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North Carolina at Florida State Betting Odds & Pick: Tar Heels and Seminoles Set Up For the Over (Saturday, Oct. 17)

North Carolina at Florida State Betting Odds & Pick: Tar Heels and Seminoles Set Up For the Over (Saturday, Oct. 17) article feature image

Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Dyami Brown (2), Javonte Williams (25), and Beau Corrales (15).

  • Two offenses that are starting two find their groove will battle in an ACC matchup on Saturday, as North Carolina travels to Tallahassee to take on Florida State.
  • Sam Howell and the Tar Heel offense have recently started humming, while the Seminoles hung around Notre Dame for the majority of their recent contest.
  • Check out Mike Calabrese's full betting analysis with updated odds below.

North Carolina at Florida State Odds

North Carolina Odds -13.5 [BET NOW]
Florida State Odds +13.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -480/+350 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 64.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 7 p.m. ET

Odds as of Saturday at 4:15 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

North Carolina and Florida State both got back on track offensively last week.

Sam Howell finally broke out with a three-touchdown performance against Virginia Tech in which he connected on 78% of his passes. Florida State couldn’t spark the upset in South Bend, but the Seminoles’ offense clearly took a major step forward, rallying around Jordan Travis as the new starting quarterback. The sophomore signal-caller has accounted for seven touchdowns in his last seven quarters of work and nearly broke the century mark on the ground against the Irish.

Given the Tar Heels’ recent success on offense and Florida State’s limitations on defense, I was surprised to see this total open in the mid-60s. One historical data point is also trending in the direction of the over. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information, the over is 11-2 when Mike Norvell is an underdog. Playing catch-up is something his offenses are clearly comfortable doing.

This over play really boils down to Florida State’s offense and North Carolina’s defense. Dating back to last season, it’s easy to see that the Tar Heels struggle to contain dual-threats, which means the only difficult choice presented to gamblers on Saturday is whether to take the over or the alternate total over.

Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.

North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina had not one, but two off-games to start to its 2020 season. The first came against Syracuse in a 31-6 snoozer in Chapel Hill that required a 21-point fourth quarter for UNC to pull away. Instead of bouncing back the following week, the Tar Heels’ game against Charlotte was canceled, creating their longest in-season hiatus in 68 years. Once they returned to the gridiron, they got off to a fast start in Chestnut Hill but faded down the stretch, narrowly pulling out a late victory over Boston College. With the benefit of back-to-back games, UNC came alive last weekend, dropping 56 points on Virginia Tech. I’m counting on that kind of continuity and explosiveness again in Tallahassee. 

North Carolina’s 35-point first half last week was its highest-scoring first 30 minutes in five years, and it’s a testament to its offensive balance. The Tar Heels rumbled to 399 yards on the ground — their most since 1993 — and it was just the second time in program history that two running backs exceeded 150 yards on the ground. UNC’s Michael Carter is the only running back this season to average 12+ yards per carry in a game (min. 15 carries), according to Pro Football Focus. And he may not even be the best runner at Mack Brown’s disposal.

Pairing Carter with Javonte Williams has provided offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s offense with an even higher ceiling than last year. I think that will shine through against an FSU defense that proved to be powerless in stopping Notre Dame’s rushing attack on Saturday night (353 yards, 8.4 yards per carry, four touchdowns). 

Florida State Seminoles

Despite giving up 42 points to Notre Dame, the Seminoles left me impressed last week, battling the Irish for four quarters.

They won’t find the sledding nearly as daunting this week, particularly in the red zone. North Carolina’s defense is allowing scores on 90% of its opponents’ trips inside their 20-yard line.

If Florida State had finished off a fourth-quarter drive at Notre Dame’s goal line, it would have been within one score of the fifth-ranked Irish. Instead, Travis was coaxed into a game-sealing interception. North Carolina is letting quarterbacks slide in that department as well by posting one of the lowest interception rates in the country (.81%, 70th), a fact that has me bullish on Florida State’s chances to hang around in this game. 

Offensively, the Seminoles are pretty much on par with UNC in terms of explosive plays, averaging 1.5 plays of 30+ through the air per game against UNC’s 1.3. And from a personnel perspective, Tamorrion Terry is a matchup nightmare for North Carolina. With Storm Duck out for Saturday, I fully expect another 100-yard performance from Terry after the rangy junior torched Notre Dame for a line of 9/146/1. If FSU can score between 24 and 28 points, this game should breeze past the total.

Check out our new CFB PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Florida State is trending upward on offense, and North Carolina doesn’t have its best cornerback to shore up a leaky secondary. On the other side, Sam Howell has caught up to the Tar Heels’ dynamic rushing attack, which means this is the national title-caliber offense we heard about all summer. With no help on the horizon for Florida State’s defense, my forecast calls for a high-scoring affair.

I would play this all the way up to 69.5, which brings an alternate total into play.

Pick: Over 64; Over 69.5 at +170 (Lean)

[Bet the North Carolina-Florida State over now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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