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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Week 9 Picks: Will the Tar Heels' Defense Show Up?

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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Week 9 Picks: Will the Tar Heels' Defense Show Up?
The North Carolina Tar Heels take the field. Photo by Grant Halverson / Getty Images via AFP.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking to get back into the top 10 with a win over a North Carolina team that entered the season with plenty of buzz.

Neither has been great at covering spreads this season with the Tar Heels 3-4 against the spread this season while the Fighting Irish are a bit better at 4-3 ATS. In terms of the total, both teams are 4-3 to the Over. The way the Tar Heels defense has looked lately, there’s no reason to think that will change in this game. The general feeling is the -3.5-point spread for Notre Dame is a bit short and I tend to agree with that.

That short number is probably taking the rest advantage into account for North Carolina, as the Tar Heels are coming off a bye week. That said, I’m not sure why that should make any difference considering Notre Dame’s schedule so far. This will be the fourth consecutive opponent the Irish face that had a bye the previous week.

Here are my picks and predictions for the college football Week 9 matchup between North Carolina and Notre Dame. (Odds via FanDuel; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Game Info

Date/Time: Saturday, October 30, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
Weather: 54 degrees

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Odds Analysis

This line opened at Notre Dame -4.5 and has moved a full point down to -3.5. Part of that is the injury to safety Kyle Hamilton who is the Irish's defensive leader. Other than that, it's very puzzling to see this number move in North Carolina's favor based on their recent results. Last season in this contest, the Tar Heels put up 17 first-half points and then proceeded to get shut out the rest of the game.

As for the total, it opened at 62.5 and hasn't moved. This one is a little tougher to predict only because North Carolina is so poor on defense that it's hard to even think of taking the Under. Although Notre Dame wants to run the ball, the Tar Heels offense has the potential to take a lead, which could lead to a high-scoring game, especially with Hamilton listed as out.

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Betting Picks

Notre Dame -3.5 (-110) ★★★
Over 62.5 (-110) ★★

SEE ALSO: Cincinnati vs. Tulane Week 9 Picks

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame Predictions

Notre Dame -3.5 (-110) ★★★

This line seems a little bit disrespectful to Notre Dame. Nothing about North Carolina should lead one to believe that the Tar Heels are on the same level as the Fighting Irish. It is very rare for a defensive player to have a significant effect on a line but Hamilton does qualify. He is easily one of the best players in the country and is expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft.

While Notre Dame has played some close games that they probably shouldn't have, they still achieved their goal of earning a victory. The Tar Heels defense seems to go from bad to worse with every passing week. North Carolina is 5-13 ATS in their last 18 road games.

Over 62.5 (-110) ★★

The absence of Hamilton will probably have a bigger effect on the total although it has not moved from where it opened. North Carolina is dangerous through the air and quarterback Sam Howell is a legit dual-threat quarterback. The Tar Heels have scored an impressive 17 touchdowns from outside the red zone, which underscores their big-play ability.

On the flip side, North Carolina struggles so much defensively, especially when it comes to tackling, which is going to be a huge problem against this Fighting Irish team. Running back Kyren Williams will be a threat that I don't think the Tar Heels can stop.

SEE ALSO: Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma Week 9 Picks

Picks made 10/27/2021 at 1:53 p.m. ET