North Carolina vs. Temple Odds, Spread, Line: Picks, Predictions for 2019 Military Bowl
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sam Howell
- North Carolina is a 6-point betting favorite over Temple in the latest Military Bowl odds, with the total up to 55.5.
- The over/under has been hammered all morning, going from 53 all the way to 56 before bettors finally decided that was too high.
- UNC exceeded expectations in its first year under coach Mack Brown, while Temple coach Rod Carey will try to win his first bowl game in his seventh try.
- See our experts' picks for North Carolina vs. Temple in the 2019 Military Bowl below.
North Carolina vs. Temple Odds, Picks
- Odds: North Carolina -6
- Over/Under: 55
- Time: Friday, 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Annapolis, Mary.
North Carolina exceeded expectations in Mack Brown’s first year, and reached a bowl game as a result.
The Tar Heels roster is littered with underclassmen, including quarterback Sam Howell, who set the FBS record for touchdown passes by a true freshman with 35.
Making a bowl is now nothing new to Temple, a team that didn’t have a winning season between 1991 and 2008. A run of head coaches including Al Golden, Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins had Temple consistently in postseason play.
But the Owls have not had success in recent bowl games, much like their new head coach Rod Carey. The former Northern Illinois coach made six bowl appearances with the Huskies and never won a game. Carey also went 1-5 against the spread in that time.
Who has the edge in Thursday’s Military Bowl? Let’s dive in.
Military Bowl Line Movement
UNC has gotten the majority of action in this game, but the early action came in on Temple.
The Tar Heels opened -7 at Circa Sports in Las Vegas, then fall to -4.5. Since, they’ve creeped back up to -6 closer to game day. — Steve Petrella
When Temple Has the Ball
I expect Temple to attack UNC through the air. The Owls have struggled to run the ball all season and will be facing a UNC front seven that should win the battles at the line of scrimmage.
UNC lost star corner Patrick Rene to injury for the season. That loss, in conjunction with the injury suffered by corner Trey Morrison, really left UNC vulnerable on the backend. The likely return of Morrison for this bowl game will help some but Rene’s absence will still be felt.
Temple has no problems airing it out with quarterback Anthony Russo and shouldn’t against this Heels defense given the matchup. — Stuckey
When UNC Has the Ball
The UNC offensive line was an area of weakness all season, which really limited their rushing attack (83rd in rushing success rate in part thanks to a ranking of 104th in stuff rate) and killed too many drives with critical sacks (110th in sack rate).
Giving up too many negative plays is not a formula for success against a Temple defense that ranks in the top 30 in both Sack Rate and Success Rate. The star of that show up front for Temple is defensive end Quincy Roche, who lives in opposing backfields.
The Temple defense can generate a lot of pressure while playing aggressive coverage on the outside. That combination explains why the Owls rank seventh in passing success rate and in the top 10 in yards per reception (6.1).
However, as a result of their scheme, they can be exploited deep with explosive passes (96th in defending pass explosiveness).
And that’s something the UNC offense excels at doing with Sam Howell and a number of electric weapons on the outside.
So, the question of which side will win out comes down to how much time the UNC offensive line can give Sam Howell? And based on what I’ve seen this year, I think the Owls win that battle more times than not.
If you’re looking to bet the total, from a pace perspective, both of these teams play very fast, ranking in the top 40 in plays per second.
I’ll personally be looking for a live shot on Temple if I don’t hit it pregame as I do make this game closer to a coin toss than where the line currently sits. — Stuckey
Wilson: Why I’m Backing the Big Play Offense
Sam Howell is one of the youngest on the squad as the true freshman led North Carolina to plenty of comebacks.
North Carolina finished top 20 in pass explosiveness and 32nd in passing success rate. That will be put to the test against a Temple secondary that is seventh in passing success rate.
The downfield passing of Howell may be the biggest issue for Temple, like Stuckey mentioned. Wide receivers Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome have hauled in plenty of explosive pass plays, an area the Temple defense ranks 96th.
Brown is second in the nation in catches over 40 yards, collecting 10 total. Newsome ranks top 20 of all receivers in the nation in catches over 20 yards.
Our Action Network projection is spot on with the number, but I will back the big play offense. North Carolina will be motivated and this game will help bridge the young roster into 2020. — Collin Wilson
Pick: North Carolina -5.5