Miami Hurricanes vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Picks and Game Preview -- 10/16/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET, October 16, 2021
Venue: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Where to watch: ACC Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: North Carolina -7.5
BetMGM: North Carolina -7.5
Caesars: North Carolina -7.5

Season record
Miami (FL): 2-3 (0-1 ACC)
North Carolina: 3-3 (2-3 ACC)

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Miami - North Carolina preview and analysis

Recent form
Miami: lost 30-28 vs. Virginia on Sept. 30
UNC: lost 35-25 vs. Florida State on Oct. 9

If there hasn't been a list of most disappointing teams in college football, it has to have the North Carolina Tar Heels at the top, right?

You don't normally find a top-25 team not just fall from grace so quickly, but underperform to the point where NFL talent has just seen their stocks drop in a heap.

Now the Tar Heels have to try and right the ship and at least find their way toward a bowl game when they take on the struggling Miami Hurricanes in Chapel Hill on Saturday.

This isn't the first time the Tar Heels are coming off an upset loss at home to the Florida State Seminoles. UNC took a 10-point lead after the first quarter and things went downhill from there. North Carolina gave up three straight touchdowns on drives of eight plays or more in the second quarter, and then two more in the third quarter before trailing by 18.

Sam Howell, who could still be a first-round pick if things fall the right way, was held to barely over 50 percent of his completions for 203 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 11 times for 108 yards. The problem for Howell is he's not getting any help outside of top receiver Josh Downs; he had 121 of Howell's yards to go with nine receptions and a touchdown.

It hasn't been any better for the Hurricanes, who started the season in the top-25 and have only fallen off a great deal since. Miami is coming off a bye week, but lost by two points on Sept. 30 to the Virginia Cavaliers to continue their alternating of wins and losses to start the season.

Miami will be without quarterback D'Eriq King for the rest of the year and will likely turn to Tyler Van Dyke in his place. He went 15 of 29 for 203 yards and a touchdown and a touchdown in the loss to Virginia. Cam'Ron Harris will be relied upon more to the running game after his 111-yard, two-touchdown night against the Cavaliers.


North Carolina is in shambles, but not as much as Miami. There should be no reason why UNC doesn't get the win and cover the 7.5 comfortably. The Tar Heels have more talent on offense, and being at home will get them back over .500 with a resounding win over an uncertain club. North Carolina wins by 17

Betting trends

North Carolina is 2-0 straight up and against the spread against Miami under head coach Mack Brown.

UNC is 5-0 ATS off a straight-up loss with an average win of 32 points.

Miami is 1-6 ATS in its last seven coming off two weeks or more of rest.

Statistical leaders

Passing: D’Eriq King -- 767 yards, 3 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Cam’Ron Harris -- 383 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Charleston Rambo -- 387 yards, 2 TD

North Carolina:
Passing: Sam Howell -- 1,697 yards, 16 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Ty Chandler -- 484 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Josh Downs -- 741 yards, 7 TD

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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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