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How and what to watch for No. 5 North Carolina vs. Florida State

Sam Howell and the UNC offense finally had its coming out party, but can it keep it up?

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The undefeated North Carolina Tar Heels take on the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday in Tallahassee live on ESPN. And the Heels will be a big favorite for a reason.

UNC finally showed the offensive output we’ve been expecting of them all season in their win against Virginia Tech. Florida State has been a dumpster fire for the fourth season in a row. They showed some signs of life early last week against Notre Dame, but they couldn’t hold off the Irish through four quarters.

FSU is only scoring 22 points per game this year, while giving up more than 33 on average. The team’s only win this year was against FCS Jacksonville State, and that wasn’t particularly convincing for most of the game. Last week against Notre Dame they gave up 353 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. That is not a great omen because UNC ran for 399 yards and three touchdowns last week against VT. It could be a long day for the FSU defense.

The Tar Heels have seemed to get better as each week passes. They’re a run first team, rushing 117 times this year as opposed to 84 passes. Why wouldn’t you be with backs like Michael Carter at your disposal, who averages over 10 yards per attempt? Also one of the best quarterbacks in America in Sam Howell.

The UNC defense has been stingy, only giving up more than 22 points once, and most of that was in garbage time against VT last week.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch this game Saturday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN, or you can stream it via the ESPN App with a cable or streaming login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: North Carolina (-13.5) at Florida State
Point Total: 64
Money line: North Carolina (-455), Florida State (+340)

  • UNC is 2-1 ATS in their last three against FSU
  • The over has hit twice in the last three meetings between these teams
  • FSU is 7-3 straight up in the last 10 meetings between these teams, but 1-2 over the last three.

The Best Bet

Looking at how FSU’s run defense performed last week compared to how the Tar Heel ground attack worked to perfection against VT, it’s hard to imagine anything different this week. FSU has struggled against every FBS team they’ve faced, and it won’t change this week against a top 5 team.

Pick: UNC -13.5

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