North Carolina vs. South Carolina Odds & Picks: Expect Mack Brown to Receive Mayo Bath

North Carolina vs. South Carolina Odds & Picks: Expect Mack Brown to Receive Mayo Bath article feature image

Grant Halverson/Getty Images and Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): D.J. Jones (26) of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Jaheim Bell (0) of the South Carolina Gamecocks.

  • North Carolina has become an even bigger favorite over South Carolina in the 2021 Duke's Mayo Bowl on Thursday morning.
  • UNC had high expectations entering the year but fell short, while South Carolina needed some good fortune to reach a bowl game.
  • Get Collin Wilson's full UNC vs. South Carolina preview and pick below.

UNC vs. South Carolina Odds

Thursday, Dec. 30
11:30 a.m. ET
North Carolina Odds
-105o / -115u
South Carolina Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds updated Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Duke's Mayo Bowl
Thursday, Dec. 30 · Charlotte, NC

Long gone are the days of the Belk Bowl, considered peak gambling degeneracy, from the Cincinnati-Duke bad beat of 2012 to Bret Bielema losing a 24-point halftime lead.

New sponsor Duke's Mayo was off to a hot start after the inaugural trophy was shattered following a Wisconsin victory. Fast forward to 2021, and the winning coach of this year's bowl game will get doused by a cooler full of mayonnaise.

This is the greatest graphic in ESPN history 😂

— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) December 28, 2021

South Carolina was expected to have a Year 0 situation in Columbia starting from the ground up, but a number of underdog victories got the Gamecocks to the postseason.

The bulk of the roster will be in Charlotte as more than a touchdown underdog to a team that missed ACC expectations.

The most surprising non-opt-out is North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell. Projected as a top-10 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, Howell will lead the Tar Heels into their third straight bowl game under head coach Mack Brown.

North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels lost more offensive weapons entering the 2021 season than most any team in FBS, but wide receiver Josh Downs and running back Ty Chandler became top targets for Howell.

Downs has posted over 1,200 receiving yards on the season from 456 snaps lined up in the slot. Chandler has rushed for over 1,000 yards with an average of 3.9 yards after contact.

Both Howell and Chandler have created 107 missed tackles this season.


— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 2, 2021

The defense has suffered a severe drop-off in the advanced analytics from the 2020 season. Under defensive coordinator Jay Bateman, North Carolina has fallen outside the top 100 in Rushing Success Rate, Stuff Rate, pass explosiveness and Standard Downs Success Rate.

After giving up over 600 total yards to Wake Forest, the Tar Heels defense allowed over 200 on the ground to FCS Wofford.

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South Carolina Gamecocks

Head coach Shane Beamer has done a tremendous job turning Year 0 into a postseason birth. The Gamecocks beat Florida and Auburn as underdogs in the month of November to become bowl eligible.

The story of the season started with Zeb Noland moving from a graduate assistant coach to quarterback when injury struck the unit. After two years each at Iowa State and North Dakota State, Noland started four games for South Carolina and ended with six big-time throws and just one turnover-worthy play.

What a zinger by Zeb Noland ⚡️

— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 16, 2021

The offense has struggled to secure offensive ranks inside the FBS top 100, but the defense has been the biggest reason for a bowl trip. South Carolina ranks top-20 in coverage and top-30 in Defensive Finishing Drives.

The multiple nickel scheme will show anywhere from two to five men on the line of scrimmage depending on the down and distance.

Failure to connect on blitz downs has allowed plenty of offenses to his explosive plays. The Gamecocks blitz on 28% of snaps but have a vanilla rank of 65th in pass rush.

South Carolina is most vulnerable on the ground, ranking 129th in Stuff Rate and 114th in Line Yards.

North Carolina vs. South Carolina Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how North Carolina and South Carolina match up statistically:

North Carolina Offense vs. South Carolina Defense
Rush Success699
Line Yards13114
Pass Success7048
Pass Blocking**2765
Big Play1552
Finishing Drives1628
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

South Carolina Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
Rush Success117114
Line Yards10293
Pass Success8273
Pass Blocking**11776
Big Play8677
Finishing Drives11897
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling4899
Middle 89070
SP+ Special Teams6712
Plays per Minute55107
Rush Rate57.2% (46)54.7% (66)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

North Carolina vs. South Carolina Betting Pick

Will the magic continue for Beamer in the Duke's Mayo Bowl? South Carolina posted wins over a Florida team without dozens of players due to the flu and was outgained by Auburn.

Noland completed a touchdown pass with 37 seconds left to beat Vanderbilt by a single point. A Holton Ahlers pick-six led to a three-point South Carolina victory over East Carolina.

The North Carolina defense struggles to stop the rush, but the opt-out of ZaQuandre White will limit the South Carolina offense.

Chandler and Howell will find plenty of success on the ground against the Gamecocks, but the explosive play for North Carolina will all depend on coverage of the slot.

Downs is the most explosive target on the Tar Heels roster and will be guarded by cornerback Carlins Platel, who lined up in the slot on 137 snaps this season. Platel is ranked 173rd in pass coverage of all defensive slot defenders, allowing opposing quarterbacks an NFL rating of 115.

The Action Network projection for the Duke's Mayo Bowl is North Carolina -11.5, giving value to any number in the single digits.

Barring turnovers, the Tar Heels have the chance to score on every offensive possession. Transfer quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner will not be eligible until next season, leaving South Carolina without enough offense to keep up with Howell, who is looking to beef up his NFL resume.

Pick: North Carolina -9.5 or Better

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