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NCAAF Notre Dame vs UNC

After earning their first victory under coach Marcus Freeman, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) try to get back to .500 when they visit the North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0, 1-1-1). North Carolina has won eight of its last nine home games and enjoyed a bye last week.

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Fighting Irish vs Tar Heels Betting Preview

Fighting Irish vs Tar Heels Opening Odds 

North Carolina has been a home underdog just once in the past three years — against Notre Dame in 2020 — but the Tar Heels might find themselves in that position once again this week. Oddsmakers opened the Irish as short 1.5-point favorites for their visit to Chapel Hill and set the total at 60. 

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Notre Dame Finally Earns Elusive Victory Under First-Year Head Coach

The Fighting Irish got a giant monkey off their back last week against California, edging the Golden Bears 24-17 for Freeman’s first victory as Notre Dame’s head coach. The Irish lost their bowl appearance under Freeman last winter and then dropped their first two games, but they rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against Cal to avoid becoming just the third Notre Dame team in history to start a season 0-3 SU.

In their first game since losing No. 1 quarterback Tyler Buchner to injury for the season, running backs Chris Tyree and Audric Estime played a larger role in the offense, combining for 140 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. Drew Pyne passed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, although star tight end Michael Mayer was limited to just two catches for 10 yards.

North Carolina Returns From Bye Week And Could Have Top Receiver Back

One of the best offenses in the nation might be about to get even better. Tar Heels superstar wide receiver Josh Downs could be back in the lineup after missing the club’s last two-plus games with a knee injury. Downs set reception and receiving yards records last year as a sophomore, and he’s also a dangerous weapon on the punt return team.

Led by first-year quarterback Drake Maye, North Carolina’s attack hasn’t missed Downs too much so far, ranking fifth in the nation in total yards per game and sixth in points scored. However, the defense has been awful, sitting near the bottom of the nation in total yards and points allowed per game. North Carolina enjoyed a bye last week, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Heels come out with any different looks vs the Irish.

Fighting Irish: Keys To Win

Notre Dame should be a bit looser and more confident following last week’s victory over California. The Irish have also proven they can win in tough environments, going 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 on the road. Ultimately, Notre Dame’s ability to get stops on defense could be the difference.

Tar Heels: Keys To Win

Having an extra week to prepare could be a huge advantage for the Tar Heels, especially if they’re able to address some of their defensive issues. The Heels need to force the Irish to beat them through the air and turn this game into an offensive shootout. 

College Football Computer Pick: Notre Dame -1

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Shark Bites
  • Notre Dame is 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 road games.
  • North Carolina is 8-1 SU in its last 9 home games.
  • The UNDER is 6-2 in Notre Dame’s last 8 games.