North Carolina Tar Heels Win Total: O/U 9.5 wins
Most view the Tar Heels as a perennial College Basketball power, but Mack Brown has started garnering attention for the college football team in Chapel Hill. North Carolina reached as high as #5 in last season’s AP poll before dropping a few games to end the season against top-five ranked Notre Dame and Texas A&M.
The Tar Heels have won more than nine games just one time since the turn of the century, but Mack Brown has them positioned well, as sportsbooks have set their betting lines for win totals at 9.5 wins.
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At Virginia Tech (9/3)
Virginia Tech hasn’t been the same powerhouse program that the nation saw under Frank Beamer in the early 2000s, but Justin Fuente’s team hasn’t found its way back to competing for conference titles, just yet. However, opening the season on a Friday night in Blacksburg while Enter Sandman blares could create a tough environment that UNC needs to be prepared for. Early lines on the game from Bovada have the Tar Heels as a 5.5 point favorite on the road.
Miami (FL) (10/16)
The Tar Heels had their way with the ‘Canes on the ground last season, rushing for 556 yards and putting up 62 points. Miami and North Carolina are the favorites to win the ACC Coastal division per Bovada (UNC +130, Miami +135), so this matchup will go a long way in determining who makes it to Charlotte to play Atlantic division mainstay Clemson. BetOnline has the current betting line on the game favoring the Tar Heels by 2.5 points at home, meaning sportsbooks see this as a toss-up if you take out the home-field advantage.
At Notre Dame (10/30)
Another late-season loss for the Tar Heels came at the hands of eventual playoff participant Notre Dame. The Irish participated in the ACC for a lone season last year to allow the football team to play a full schedule, but Notre Dame is back to holding their independent status this season. Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan takes over at quarterback for Ian Book, and the Irish replace multiple starters on the offensive line. BetOnline has the Irish as a 2 point favorite for this Halloween weekend matchup in South Bend.
Sam Howell highlights the returning starters for the Tar Heels as he returns to start for his third year under Mack Brown. Howell was voted as the preseason player of the year in the ACC and is on the radar as a possible top draft pick come this Spring. Carolina loses its top two running backs in Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, who were drafted on day two of last year’s NFL Draft, but transfer Ty Chandler and British Brooks have turned heads in camp and look to seamlessly step into those roles.
On defense, cornerback Tony Grimes reclassified from the 2021 class to enroll in Chapel Hill in the fall. Instead of playing his senior year in high school, the teenager found himself lining up against ACC wide receivers. An obligatory mention of all-name team fellow cornerback Storm Duck seems warranted here as well, but overall the Tar Heels are poised to continue improving as they’ve seen recruiting pick up steam under Mack Brown.
Under 9.5 wins. The three games highlighted provide a challenge for the Tar Heels to hit the betting line set in front of them, and there are other trap games that are present on the schedule, including road games against Pittsburgh and NC State. UNC avoids Clemson on the regular-season schedule, but reaching double-digit wins is a daunting task. If the temptation is there to take the over, it may be enticing enough to take Bovada’s line of over 10 games with +120.
North Carolina ACC Champions
Bovada and BetUS both have the Tar Heels at +700 to win the ACC outright. Clemson is the overwhelming favorite to hold their title, but the Tar Heels had a chance to beat the Tigers in their last matchup in 2019 that fell short on a failed two-point conversion that would have won the game.
Sam Howell Heisman Trophy Winner
As mentioned above, Howell enters the season as the preseason ACC player of the year and hopeful first-round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Entering his third year in the system, Howell has the experience factor to start this college football season, while most of the Heisman hopefuls will be newcomers on the big teams looking to compete on the national stage. If Howell can lead the Tar Heels into playoff consideration while putting up the necessary statistics, the +1000 odds from Bovada could be appealing to sports bettors.