Thursday Night ACC Betting Picks: North Carolina Tar Heels at Virginia Cavaliers
North Carolina Tar Heels at Virginia Cavaliers
Thursday, November 15, 2012, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Scott Stadium – Charlottesville, Virginia
Opening Line: North Carolina -5 1/2
Current Line: North Carolina -3 1/2
Opening Total: 61
Opening Total: 61 1/2
Opening Money Line: UNC -165 / UVA +145
Current Money Line: UNC -150 / UVA +130
Parity has turned the ACC into a muddled mess this season. Besides 9-1 Florida St and Clemson and 2-8 Boston College, the other 9 teams in the conference all have between 4 and 6 wins. While the Atlantic division is pretty straight forward with Florida St clinching the division with a win against Maryland Saturday, all six teams in the Coastal division have at least 3 conference losses.
Two of those Coastal Division teams meet Thursday night as the Virginia Cavaliers host the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC is 6-4 this season overall and 3-3 in the ACC. The Tar Heels are ineligible for both the ACC Championship game and a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions. Virginia is 4-6 this season and 2-4 in conference. They have to win this game to set up a game next week against in-state rival Virginia Tech where only the winner will be bowl eligible.
This is the 117th meeting between Virginia and North Carolina and is billed as the South’s Oldest Football Rivalry. North Carolina leads the series 58-54-4, but Virginia is 24-22 in Charlottesville. The Tar Heels won last year’s game 28-17 in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina is coached by Larry Fedora, in his first year with the Tar Heels. UNC has losses at Wake Forest 28-27, Louisville 39-34, and Duke 33-30 along with a home loss to Georgia Tech last week 68-50. The Tar Heels have home wins over Elon 62-0, East Carolina 27-6, Idaho 66-0, Virginia Tech 48-34, and NC State 43-35, along with a road win at Miami 18-14. UNC is 5-5 ATS and the total is 6-3 this season. The Tar Heels were 7.5 point favorites against Georgia Tech and the game barely went over the 65 point total with only 118 points between the two teams.
North Carolina is averaging 488.7 yards per game on offense including 287.7 passing and 201 rushing yards. The Tar Heels are outscoring teams 41-26 this season. North Carolina is 31st or better in all offensive categories including #16 in total offense and #9 in scoring nationally. UNC is +6 in turnovers with 16 giveaways. The Tar Heels are averaging 63 penalty yards per game and have allowed 10 sacks this season. UNC is 72/144 on third and fourth down conversions and 42/53 scoring in the red zone with 32 touchdowns. The Tar Heels are allowing 392.1 yards per game on defense, including 254.2 passing yards and 137.9 rushing yards. UNC has forced 24 sacks and 22 turnovers this season. Tar Heel opponents are 69/172 on third and fourth down conversions and 29/33 scoring in the red zone with 19 touchdowns. UNC has 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner has completed 219 of 347 passes (63.1%) for 2,736 yards with 20 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. Running back Giovani Bernard has 142 carries, 1,008 yards, and 11 touchdowns, along with 38 catches, 411 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also has 2 punt returns for touchdowns and almost 1,700 all purpose yards. A.J. Blue has 73 carries, 393 yards and 8 touchdowns along with 8 catches for 68 yards. Romar Morris has 67 catches, 376 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 12 catches, 204 yards and 2 touchdowns. Back-up quarterback Marquise Williams has 22 carries, 146 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns, along with a passing touchdown. Receiver Eric Ebron has 37 catches, 568 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eric Highsmith has 46 catches, 511 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 51 rushing yards and a touchdown. Quinshad Davis has 36 catches, 463 yards and 3 touchdowns. Sean Tapley has 23 catches, 358 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also has a kick return for a touchdown. Talented kicker Casey Barth is out for the season with a leg injury. He will be replaced by Thomas Moore. Four defensive players are listed as as questionable or out Thursday night.
Virginia is coached by Mike London. The Cavaliers have home wins over Richmond 43-19, Penn St 17-16, and last week against Miami 41-40 along with a road win over NC State 33-6. Virginia has won two straight games to snap a six game losing streak. The Cavaliers have road losses at Georgia Tech 56-20, TCU 27-7, and Duke 42-17 along with home losses to Louisiana Tech 44-38, Maryland 27-20, and Wake Forest 16-10. Virginia is 1-8-1 ATs and the total is 5-4 this season. The Cavaliers were 2 point favorites in the Miami game and the total was 54.
Virginia is averaging 419.1 yards per game on offense, including 282.4 passing yards and 136.7 rushing yards. Virginia is being outscored 29-25 this season. The Cavaliers are #33 in passing, but #91 in rushing and #90 in scoring nationally. Virginia is -12 in turnovers with 22 giveaways. The Cavaliers are averaging 62 penalty yards per game and have allowed 19 sacks this season. Virginia is 77/183 on third and fourth down conversions and 29/35 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns. On defense, the Cavaliers are allowing 349.1 yards per game, including 204.4 passing yards and 144.7 rushing yards . Virginia is in the top 45 nationally in all 3 categories but is #76 in points allowed. Turnovers and penalties are killing this team. The Cavaliers have forced 10 turnovers and 13 sacks. Virginia opponents are 55/161 on third and fourth down conversions and 31/37 scoring in the red zone with 23 touchdowns.
Virginia uses two quarterbacks. Michael Rocco has completed 136 of 221 passes (61.5%) for 1,585 yards with 12 touchd0wns and 8 touchdowns, along with 24 carries for 79 yards. Phillip Sims, a transfer from Alabama, has completed 103 of 179 passes (57.5%) for 1,203 yards with 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 2 rushing touchdowns. Running back Kevin Parks has 140 carries, 660 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 22 catches for 184 yards. Perry Jones has 114 carries, 395 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 41 catches for 341 yards. He has also thrown a touchdown pass and an interception in four attempts this season. Khalek Sheperd and Clifton Richardson will also get a few carries per game. Receiver Darius Jennings has 42 catches, 521 yards and 4 touchdowns. E.J. Scott has 27 catches, 377 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dominique Terrell has 31 catches for 369 yards. Tim Smith has 16 catches, 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jake McGee has 24 catches, 320 yards and 5 touchdowns. Eleven Cavalier players are listed as questionable or out, including seven defensive players.
North Carolina is 4-0-1 ATS after allowing more than 40 points, 6-1 after gaining more than 450 yards, 5-1 after a straight up loss, 4-1 in Thursday games, and after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 7-2 after a double digit home loss, 2-5 after allowing more than 450 yards, and in November, 11-28 after passing for more than 280 yards, 1-4 in road games against teams with losing home records, 1-6 after scoring more than 40 points, and 0-5 in road games. The under is 5-1-1 in the last seven in this series.
Virginia is 2-5 ATS after scoring more than 40 points, 4-10 in home games against teams with winning road records, 1-4 after rushing for less than 100 yards, 1-6 in ACC games, 1-7 after an ATS loss, and against teams with winning records, 1-7-1 after gaining more than 450 yards, 1-9-1 on grass, 1-10-1 overall, 0-6-1 at home, 0-4 after a straight up win, and 0-3-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more. The Cavaliers are 11-3 ATS in the last 14 against North Carolina, including 7-1 at home.
Both of these teams are racked with injuries. This game means more to Virginia because they have to win out in order to become bowl eligible, and North Carolina can only play spoiler. This line opened with Carolina as a 5.5 point favorite and has been bet down to 3.5. I think Virginia can pull off the mild upset, if they can avoid turning the ball over.
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