North Carolina Betting Odds Preview

The Tar Heels played two very different halves last year; they started 1-5, then finished 6-1. So it's hoped North Carolina can ride that late-season momentum into this season. The Tar Heels still haven't broken through to play in the ACC championship game, but they have posted six winning seasons in a row.

Now Carolina heads into its third season under head coach Larry Fedora, and the goal is nothing less than a Coastal Division championship. Most of the pieces are in place, except for some holes on both the offensive and defensive lines, and North Carolina will begin this season with as good a chance as anybody to win the weaker of the two ACC divisions.

North Carolina Odds to Win ACC: 10/1 at Bovada
North Carolina Odds to Win College Football Championship: 100/1 at Bovada
North Carolina Regular Season Win Total: 8 at Bovada

North Carolina opened last year with a loss at South Carolina, a win over Middle Tennessee but then four straight losses, including an embarrassing home defeat to East Carolina and a tough loss at Miami. The Heels even lost their starting quarterback. But Carolina sucked it up and won five in a row, as things began to click on both sides of the ball. The Heels fell on a late field goal at Coastal Division champion Duke, but then ended on a great note with a romp over a good Cincinnati team in the Belk Bowl to finish 7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS.

So Carolina is 15-10 SU in two seasons under Fedora, 14-11 ATS.

This year the Tar Heels return 15 starters, two more than last year and second-most in the conference. Eight starters are back on offense, including junior QB Marquise Williams, with whom the Heels went 5-1 as a starter last year, and three along the offensive line. And seven starters are back on defense, including all four linebackers. North Carolina also has a weapon in WR/KR Ryan Switzer, who returned five punts for scores last year.

This year's schedule is no stroll in the woods. The Heels host, among others, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Pitt, and play at East Carolina, Clemson, Notre Dame, Miami and Duke. But they do miss Florida State and Louisville, at least until a possible ACC championship game matchup.

College programs often make big strides in the third season of new coaching regimes, and the Heels are in their third season under Fedora. Could this be the season North Carolina finally makes the ACC championship game?

ACC Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5

Florida State 4/11
Clemson 10/1
Louisville 10/1
North Carolina 10/1
Miami 12/1
Virginia Tech 12/1
Duke 20/1
Georgia Tech 25/1
Pittsburgh 40/1
Syracuse 66/1
Virginia 66/1
North Carolina State 100/1
Boston College 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1

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One of these years the North Carolina Tar Heels are going to break loose and become   monsters. “Experts” have been saying something similar for several seasons now, but for one reason or another it hasn't happened yet. But this year, now that they're eligible to play in the postseason, the Tar Heels might just be good enough, hungry enough, and lucky enough to live up to those lofty expectations.

Odds to Win ACC: +850 at 5Dimes
Regular Season Win Total: 9 at Bovada

Last year North Carolina was ineligible for the postseason, which in the end was too bad because the Heels would have represented the Coastal Division in the ACC championship game for the first time. UNC started 1-2 last season, with a one-point loss to Wake Forest and a five-point loss to Louisville, but then won four in a row, topping, among others, Virginia Tech and Miami. Carolina then got upset at home by Duke, beat NC State, but then suffered a total defensive meltdown in a 68-50 loss to Georgia Tech.

The Heels then dusted themselves off and beat Virginia and Maryland to finish at 8-4 overall, 5-3 in conference play. So that's five straight winning seasons for Carolina, but very little to show for it. UNC also went 6-6 ATS last year, 5-2 ATS at home, but 1-4 ATS on the road. This year the Heels return six starters on an offense that averaged almost 41 PPG last year, including senior QB Bryn Renner (28/7 TD/INT ratio last year) and last year's top two receivers, and seven starters are back on defense, including the entire secondary. But they'll have to replace 1,200-yard rusher Giovani Bernard, three starters on the offensive line, and four of the defensive front seven.

The Heels begin this season with an interesting border-battle road game at South Carolina, later have to play at Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, NC State, and Pitt, but get Miami and Virginia at home and miss the top four contenders from the Atlantic Division – Florida State, Clemson, Maryland, and Wake Forest - at least until a possible conference championship game matchup.

ACC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 30
 
Clemson +235
Florida State +240
Miami +575
Virginia Tech +775
North Carolina +850
Georgia Tech +1050
Pittsburgh +3500
Virginia +3800
Syracuse +6500
Maryland +6700
NC State +7000
Boston College +8500
Duke +12500
Wake Forest +15000

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