Florida State Seminoles vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Picks and Game Preview - 10/09/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET, October 9, 2021
Venue: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Where to watch: ESPN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: North Carolina -17.5
BetMGM: North Carolina -17.5
Caesars: North Carolina -17.5

Season record
Florida State: 1-4 (1-2 ACC)
North Carolina: 3-2 (2-2 ACC)

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Florida State - North Carolina preview and analysis

Recent form
FSU: won 33-30 vs. Syracuse on Oct. 2
UNC: won 38-7 vs. Duke on Oct. 2

It has not been a fun time this season for two teams expected to challenge for an ACC Championship, particularly the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Perhaps for their opponent, the Florida State Seminoles, such inadequate football was expected from the fine folks of Tallahasee. But the Seminoles will try to win consecutive games for the first time this season against the Tar Heels in Charlotte on Saturday.

The Seminoles are coming off a 3-point win over the Syracuse Orange for their first triumph of this disappointing college football season. It took a field goal at the final horn after blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but if the "Just win, baby" moniker ever existed in this lexicon, it'd be here.

Jordan Travis got the start at quarterback last week and combined for 244 yards and two touchdowns (both through the air), but did have an interception. It should also be noted that Travis threw the ball 32 times to get those 131 yards on 22 completions. So are we really celebrating a victory here?

In the books, no. Florida State has not covered in four straight games with three of those losses being decided by one score. Jacksonville State says hello.

If Florida State is looking for any solace here, Travis was the quarterback that led Florida State to the upset win over North Carolina, who was ranked No. 5 in the country entering that game. Travis ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns, but had 191 yards on only eight completions and another touchdown.

Something tells me that such tomfoolery will not exist this season.

The Tar Heels are coming off a 31-point win over the Duke Blue Devils, showing that such rivalries are better decided on the gridiron than the unnecessary evil of a basketball court. Sam Howell threw for 321 yards, his fourth consecutive 300-yard game, and three touchdowns as UNC covered the 19-point spread by halftime. Josh Downs had a game-high eight receptions for 168 yards and a touchdown.

North Carolina's defense held Duke to a season-low 314 total yards, which is nearly 250 under the season average for the high-octane Blue Devils offense.


The Tar Heels have been great at home this season and that trend will continue this weekend. I'm not sure how much last year's game is on the mind of UNC, but if the majority of that team feels some type of way, I'd be scared if I'm Florida State. North Carolina by 24

Betting trends

Florida State is 3-10 against the spread in games following a home game.

North Carolina has lost seven straight against the spread off a home win against a conference opponent.

Statistical leaders

Florida State:
Passing: McKenzie Milton -- 548 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Jashaun Corbin -- 504 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Ontario Wilson -- 133 yards, 1 TD

North Carolina:
Passing: Sam Howell -- 1,494 yards, 14 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Ty Chandler -- 423 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Josh Downs -- 620 yards, 6 TD

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Florida State - North Carolina prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAA projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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