North Carolina-Miami: Canes Will Win Thursday, but Spread Too Big

Sunday, September 23, 2018 10:05 PM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018 10:05 PM UTC

When does basketball season start at North Carolina? The football Tar Heels aren’t very good and are big underdogs Thursday night at No. 16 Miami (Fla.).

Matthew's 2018 NCAAF ATS Record: 5-4

North Carolina (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) at No. 16 Miami (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)Thursday, 8 p.m. (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: HeelsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Finally, we have a Power 5 conference game on a Thursday night as North Carolina visits No. 16 Miami in ACC action.

While the Tar Heels are lousy and their fans are simply waiting for Midnight Madness and men’s basketball season to start, the Hurricanes are Atlantic Division contenders again – it’s likely going to be either them or Virginia Tech representing the Atlantic against sure-fire Coastal champion Clemson in the ACC title game. Miami visits Blacksburg on Nov. 17. Then again, the Hokies lost Saturday at Old Dominion so who knows?

This could be a bit of a trap game for the Hurricanes because next up is their annual showdown with hated rival Florida State on Oct. 6. Sure, the Seminoles are in the dumps right now but that doesn’t matter in that rivalry. It’s a bit of a benefit, then, that UM is playing Thursday this week and thus has a bit of extra time to rest and prepare for FSU.

North Carolina leads Miami 11-10 all-time, and they’ve met every year since 2004 (before that, not since 1963). The Canes ended a two-game losing streak in the series with a 24-19 road win last year when UM was ranked No. 8 and the Heels entered at 1-7 and were 20-point underdogs. Miami QB Malik Rosier had one of his best games in throwing for 356 yards and three scores, but the Hurricanes were really sloppy and outgained by the Tar Heels, who probably win if they don’t turn it over four times: Nathan Elliott had three picks after starting QB Chazz Surratt left injured in the first quarter, and Jordon Brown lost a late fumble when UNC was driving.

The Heels are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.

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Who is N’Kosi Perry, the Miami Hurricanes quarterback who took over for Rosier vs. FIU? https://t.co/FUFy1PfbLV pic.twitter.com/W4P0uoY6Um

— Miami Herald Sports (@HeraldSports) September 22, 2018
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Reinforcements Coming for UNC

North Carolina was a 3-point home dog Saturday and knocked off Pittsburgh 38-35. Elliott threw for a career-high 313 yards along with two scores, while Antonio Williams – a transfer from Ohio State -- rushed for 114 yards and two scores on 16 carries. The Heels were down 28-21 at the half but outscored Pitt 17-0 in the third.

UNC is still dealing with the suspensions of a few guys for a secondary NCAA violation of selling team-issued shoes. Sophomore defensive end Tomon Fox was great vs. Pitt with seven tackles and a sack but will have to sit this one out as the suspensions were staggered. Arguably the team’s best defensive player, senior end Malik Carney, will return from his suspension.

The fact that Carolina didn’t play UCF actually helped some guys in a way because that shortened the Heels’ schedule to 11 games. Technically, all the affected guys were suspended for 30 percent of the team’s regular-season schedule. With a 12-game schedule, that was four games. With 11 games, it’s only three.

Miami was -26.5 Saturday at home vs. fellow city school Florida International but only won 31-17. There might be a quarterback controversy because Rosier struggled and backup N’Kosi Perry, a former top recruit, came on and completed 17 of 25 for 224 yards and three scores. Mark Richt hasn’t yet announced the starter for this one, but signs seem to point to it being the redshirt freshman Perry. Most UM fans certainly hope so as many have soured in Rosier.

The Canes played without two of their top players in receiver Ahmmon Richards and safety Jaquan Johnson due to injuries. Not yet clear if they will go here. Receiver and returner Jeff Thomas left vs. FIU in the opening minutes to dehydration but should be fine here.

  • Miami is 1-6 ATS in its past seven vs. the ACC.
  • Hurricanes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
  • North Carolina is 4-0 ATS in its past four ACC games.

The underdog has covered 10 of the past 14 in the series and that’s the Thursday NCAAF pick. Miami will certainly win the game but not by more than 17.

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