The Virginia Cavaliers are currently 2-0 and looking to stay undefeated against an AP Top-25 ranked opponent in the North Carolina Tar Heels. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels dominated Georgia State, 59-17 after losing their first game of the season to Virginia Tech.
It looks like North Carolina has finally found their offense after a slow start through the first game of the season. On the other hand, Virginia has dominated through their first two games of the season and might be a real threat against North Carolina on Saturday. Can Virginia continue their solid season and upset North Carolina on the road?
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
- Opening Lines: North Carolina -9; O/U 66
- Current ATS Line: North Carolina -8.5
- Current Over/Under: 65.5
- Location: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021
- Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
- Television: ACCN
- Last Meeting: Virginia defeated North Carolina in 2020, 44-41, and is on a four-game winning streak against UNC.
It’s no secret that Virginia has looked strong in their first two games of the season. The Cavaliers knocked off William & Mary, 43-0 in their first game of the season, and then proceeded to knock off a Big Ten team in Illinois, 42-14, at home. It was an absolute beatdown from Virginia.
They have found their offense behind 550.5 yards per game this season and are only allowing 260.5 yards on defense in their first two games. Brennan Armstrong has thrown for 744 yards along with seven touchdowns and one interception. He’s been getting solid protection and looks fantastic on offense paired with a running game that is averaging 169.5 yards per game.
To be fair, the defense could be better. They’re only allowing seven points per game but have allowed 105 yards rushing while not really looking great in the run game on defense. Up front, the Cavaliers unit needs to be better but so far the offense has carried this team. The defense has escaped by allowing just 14 points in two games. Don’t read into that too much.
North Carolina stunned all of college football with their 17-10 loss to Virginia Tech in their first game of the season. The offense, under Sam Howell, was supposed to be one of the best in the nation, despite losing some players to the NFL. The offense came back the following week after the loss and put up 59 points against Georgia State in a 59-17 win.
That was more like it for North Carolina. But just like Virginia, the defense hasn’t looked all that great. Outside the run defense looking somewhat solid, nothing has really look fluent for the squad on defense.
- Cavaliers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.
- Tar Heels are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight-up win.
- Over is 5-1 in Tar Heels’ last 6 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
*Line movement analysis based on the DonBest Las Vegas betting market ticker*
There hasn’t been much movement from the opening line to now. North Carolina opened as nine-point favorites and are can now be bet at -8.5. The total has shifted from 66 to 65.5.
These defenses have allowed an average of 24 points per game combined. That’s extremely good for these defenses through two games. However, those stats don’t really tell the entire story.
North Carolina has struggled to tackle, looking poor with their pass rush, and have not covered particularly well in the first two games of the season. The Tar Heels have been alright against the run but just slightly better than the average there.
Virginia has done well tackling and with their coverage but hasn’t looked great in run defense or the pass rush. The Cavaliers faced William & Mary and Illinois with a backup quarterback. No wonder they were able to escape allowing 14 points total in both games combined.
The offense for Virginia is legitimate though. They’ve been tremendous behind Armstrong and he’s made very solid reads and big-time throws. The offensive line has stepped up and protected the pocket. All looks good on offense for Virginia.
On the other hand, North Carolina with Sam Howell at quarterback will be just as good, if not better, as the season progresses. He’s thrown for 560 yards and four touchdowns through two games. Although he has three interceptions, Howell has dominated in the passing game and in the ground game, leading his team with 139 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.
Don’t be fooled by the defensive numbers that these two teams put up in the first two weeks of the season. We’re about to see an offensive explosion between these two teams.
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