While neither the No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels nor the No. 10 Miami Hurricanes will play in the ACC title game, arguably no intraconference matchup will feature a better quarterback duel than the showdown of Sam Howell and D’Eriq King.
Howell, the true sophomore who spurned larger programs to sign on with Mack Brown a year ago, leads a North Carolina offense that enters the week ranked fourth nationally in Football Outsiders’ offensive F+ metric. He has played extremely well the past five games, tossing 16 touchdowns against just two interceptions while accounting for another three scores on the ground. Though the Tar Heels have issues on defense — the unit currently ranks 63rd in F+ — Howell’s arm and legs can carry the team to victory even against superior opponents.
The same applies to Miami’s signal-caller. King, who transferred from the Houston Cougars earlier this year, has not thrown a single interception over the past four games while delivering 10 touchdown passes and another two scores as a runner. Defenses have struggled all season to contain the diminutive yet elusive King, who can create plays out of structure as well as any quarterback in the nation.
But unlike North Carolina, Miami possesses a top-20 defense by F+. The success of that unit gives the Hurricanes a chance to slow down Howell and allow King to take care of the rest.
Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming
You can watch North Carolina versus Miami on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC, or you can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.
Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends
Point spread: Miami -3
Point Total: 67.5
Money line: UNC +114, Miami -137
- Since 2015, North Carolina has a 15-13-1 road record against the spread (7-6-1 as road underdog).
- Also during that period, the Tar Heels have an over record of 16-13-0 on the road (8-6-0 as road underdog).
- Since 2015, Miami has a 19-17-0 record at home against the spread (17-15-0 as home favorite).
- During the same stretch, the Hurricanes have an over record of 18-18-0 (15-17-0 as home favorite).
North Carolina: (62% of handle, 49% percent of bets)
Miami: (38% of handle, 51% percent of bets)
The Best Bet
Each team possesses one of the best quarterbacks in college football, each playing at or near their highest level. While Miami’s defense could slow down North Carolina a little, the amount of passing should make this one of the highest-scoring affairs of the week.
Pick: Over 67.5
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