Rivalry week is the best week. On Friday, the North Carolina Tar Heels will travel to Raleigh to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The season hasn’t gone exactly as planned for the Tar Heels, however, at 6-5, North Carolina has a chance to go 7-5 on the year and play in a bowl game. But it’ll be tough as they take on a North Carolina State team that is 8-3 and dominant. The Wolfpack have won three of their last five games with two losses being by three or fewer points.
Both of these offenses can produce like no tomorrow, but only North Carolina State has looked consistent on the defensive end. Here are our picks and predictions for the North Carolina vs North Carolina State rivalry game for Week 13.
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- Opening Line: North Carolina State -6.5, O/U 63.5
- Current Line: North Carolina State -5.5, O/U 63
- Last meeting: October 24, 2020, North Carolina 48, North Carolina State 21
Last season, the North Carolina State Wolfpack couldn’t stop the Tar Heels all game, allowing 48 points in a 48-21 blowout. This year, however, North Carolina State has looked much better on both sides of the ball.
On offense, Devin Leary has thrown for 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions for North Carolina State with 3,186 yards to his name this season. Leary has flown under the radar due to quarterbacks like Sam Howell of North Carolina, but he’s been special as a sophomore. The offense averages 419.5 yards per game with 33 points per game thanks to a very powerful offensive line that continues to look good this season.
Defensively, North Carolina State can really defend in the ground game, allowing just 108.3 yards per game. The tackling has been tremendous and the coverage and pass rush have been better than expected this season.
On the other hand, North Carolina is led by Sam Howell who has thrown for 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Howell didn’t play due to an upper body injury last week against Wofford, but if North Carolina played a better team, he likely would’ve suited up. So while he’s questionable for this game, I have no doubt that he plays. Anyway, Howell hasn’t been nearly as effective as Leary but gets more credit than Leary does. For North Carolina, it’s the run game that sets them apart, but that won’t help them against North Carolina State.
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- Wolfpack are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Tar Heels are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.
- Over is 9-1 in Tar Heels last 10 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
This is North Carolina State’s year. They’ve been tremendous all year, especially in the final month and a half. The Wolfpack have lost two of their last five games by a combined four points and won the other three pretty convincingly. Even if this game comes down to the final score, there’ a good chance North Carolina State pulls it out with a game-winning touchdown or something.
The Tar Heels are all about the run game right now, especially with Howell being injured. With North Carolina State being extremely effect against the run all season, there’s a good chance the Wolfpack get some stops to win this game by a score or two.
Pick: North Carolina State -5.5 (-110)
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Jason Radowitz is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him @Jason_Radowitz.