Texas A&M vs. North Carolina Betting Predictions

Orange Bowl UNC vs Texas A&M
Texas A&M vs. North Carolina, NCAA Football, Orange Bowl, January 2

Texas A&M has won seven straight since its one loss this season to Alabama with a few impressive wins in the process. North Carolina can score in bunches and proven that over the course of this season, but the defense is still a concern for the third-best team in the ACC. This game might seem close on paper, but the Tar Heels are vastly overrated given their performances this season, so Texas A&M should win with ease.

Texas A&M vs. North Carolina Betting Odds

I’m not sure Texas A&M is one of the four best teams in the country, but the Aggies are certainly one of the best teams in the nation. They have a well-balanced offense led by quarterback Kellen Mond, and a defense that has been up to the task over the last two months of the season. Since being Florida in College Station, Texas A&M has allowed more than 20 points just once and kept four SEC opponents to 14 points or fewer. No matter if those opponents were great or not, it’s still impressive to see that type of dominance from a team. Texas A&M has not played down to the opponent either with six straight wins of at least 11 points. The Aggies have just eight turnovers in nine games and though they don’t have many takeaways, they are holding teams to less than 100 rushing and 225 passing yards per game while averaging more than 430 yards themselves. Mond has some athleticism that can counteract North Carolina’s pass rush as he is Texas A&M’s second-leading rusher behind Isaiah Spiller, and he has thrown just three interceptions despite not being the most accurate quarterback.

Let’s start by giving credit where credit is due, this North Carolina offense is dangerous to defend. The Tar Heels are averaging more than 550 yards and 43 points per game this season, having driven down the field seemingly at will against opposing defenses. North Carolina has a pair of 1,000-yard rushers at running back with Michael Carter (1,245 yards) and Javonte Williams (1,140) earning identical rushes in the backfield. That duo has combined for 28 rushing touchdowns and are averaging 7.6 yards per carry. It’s the perfect complement to Sam Howell, who is completing 69 percent of his throws and tossed 27 touchdowns this season. Howell, though, has just two main targets – Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome – and he hasn’t been great at spreading the ball around to other receivers. Those two top-flight receivers and the two running backs have been all the weapons North Carolina needs to outscore their opponents, but it’s been tight a few times. The Tar Heels defense has been shaky at best and is allowing nearly 400 yards per game, including 150 on the ground. The unit isn’t great at forcing turnovers and plenty of average offenses have had loads of success against this unit this year.

I am actually a big fan of the Orange Bowl betting at the New Jersey online football betting sites, especially when it comes to the over/under. That line is set at 68 points, which is an enticing bet given North Carolina’s offensive prowess and defensive liabilities. It is those weaknesses that I think will be the Tar Heels’ downfall and the reason I believe this game hits the over. Texas A&M has only scored 40 points three times this season, but it has scored at least 30 points in consecutive games. North Carolina is allowing 30.3 points per game to FBS opponents, including three games in which the opposition scored at least 40 points. I am not sure how well the Tar Heels offense will look against this Aggies defense, but I know Texas A&M should be able to shred this North Carolina defense. I’ll take the over 68.5 points at -107 odds in what could turn into an ugly blowout early.

Texas A&M to win

I’m not surprised that Texas A&M is the favorite on the Orange Bowl betting line, though I think the 6.5 points from the football betting sites in New Jersey was a bit low. The Aggies have kept their last four opponents to 20 points or fewer and they’ve scored 30 or more points in four of their last five games. Texas A&M was able to go toe-to-toe with Florida’s offense earlier this season and the North Carolina defense is far worse than the Gators’ unit. North Carolina has scored at least 40 points in six of its last seven games, which would be impressive until you realize the Tar Heels have allowed at least 20 points in six of those contests with the exception being FCS Western Carolina. North Carolina is just 1-2 when it doesn’t score 30 points this season, and I don’t know if they will be able to score in bunches against this Aggies defense. I would bet Texas A&M laying more points if I could for my Orange Bowl predictions, but I’ll settle with the Aggies laying 6.5 points at -113 odds.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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