College Football Picks: Virginia at North Carolina Odds and Predictions

Doc MosemanCorrespondent INovember 4, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 7: David Watford #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers looks to throw a pass against the Oregon Ducks during the game at Scott Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Oregon won 59-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers and the North Carolina Tar Heels clash this Saturday afternoon at Kenan Stadium in this annual ACC border war. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be available on ESPN3.

Virginia’s season continues to tank with six straight losses after a 2-1 straight-up start. The latest setback was a 59-10 drubbing at the hands of No. 8 Clemson as 17.5-point home underdogs, and it dropped the Cavaliers to 2-7 SU and 3-5-1 against the spread. The total has gone “over” in their last five games.

The Tar Heels have now won their last two games after suffering through a four-game skid of their own. They followed up a 34-10 romp over Boston College as 5.5-point home favorites with this past Saturday’s 27-19 victory over North Carolina State as five-point favorites on the road. North Carolina is 3-5 SU and 4-4 ATS, and the total has stayed “under” in seven of their last eight games.


Virginia at North Carolina Betting Storylines

Other than the fact that this is still a big rivalry game in the ACC, Virginia brings very little momentum into this Saturday’s game. The only positive takeaways during this six-game slide are covering as a six-point underdog on the road in a 27-26 loss to Maryland and a 35-25 loss to Georgia Tech on Oct. 26 as a 10-point home underdog that ended as a “push.” This leaves the Cavaliers at 1-4-1 ATS during this stretch of games.

Virginia’s offense has scored at least 22 points in four of the six losses, but its defense has fallen apart. It is currently ranked 100th in the country in points allowed (32.6), but this number has ballooned to 36.3 points during the losing streak.

The only hope to keeping this game close would be a huge performance by quarterback David Watford, who is an unlikely candidate after completing just 59.3 percent of his passes for 1,845 yards and seven touchdowns while getting picked off 10 times.

The Tar Heels have long since been out of the race for the ACC Coastal Division crown at 2-3 SU in conference play, but with just three wins overall against five losses, they know they can’t afford more than one more setback down the stretch to keep their bowl chances alive.

The good news for North Carolina fans is that they do have four winnable games left on their schedule, starting with this Saturday’s contest.

If this team is going to extend its current winning streak to three games, it will need another solid effort from Bryn Renner. He threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles in Week 11, and last Saturday against the rival Wolfpack, he completed 15 of 22 passes for 124 yards.

The real hero in that game was freshman running back T.J. Logan, who scored on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. A.J. Blue continues to lead the team in rushing with 266 yards on 70 carries.


Virginia at North Carolina Betting Odds and Trends by 5Dimes

Point spread: North Carolina -14.5

Total Line: OFF

The Cavaliers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games following a SU loss but 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record. The total has gone over in their last four games in the ACC.

The Tar Heels are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 home games but just 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a SU win. The total has stayed under in their last five games against a conference opponent.

Head-to-head in this rivalry, Virginia is 11-4 ATS in the last 15 meetings and 5-2 ATS in its last seven trips to Chapel Hill. The total has stayed under in six of the last eight games between the two.


College Football Picks: Virginia at North Carolina Betting Predictions

The past betting trends in this matchup favor Virginia, but current form does not. The Cavaliers continue to spiral downward, while North Carolina is playing its best ball of the year. Laying 14.5 points in a heated rivalry always carries some risk, but the top play in this game remains North Carolina covering at home.

Take: #146 North Carolina (-14.5) over Virginia (12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9)