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Capital One Orange Bowl Preview: Texas A&M Aggies vs North Carolina Tar Heels

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) hands the ball off to running back Isaiah Spiller (28) during an NCAA college football game against LSU on Nov. 28, 2020, in College Station, Texas.

The Texas A&M Aggies were the last team left out of the College Football Playoff with an 8-1 SU and 5-4 ATS record in 2020. The Aggies will now try to get motivated to finish their season on a high note with a win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Orange Bowl.

Orange Bowl: Texas A&M vs North Carolina
  • Date/Time: January 2, 8 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Texas A&M -5.5 | O/U 69 (Line History)
  • Texas A&M vs North Carolina Matchup Report

Orange Bowl Odds Analysis

The Aggies opened as 5.5-point favorites, but a slew of key North Carolina opt-outs has driven the line up to Texas A&M -7.5. The total has also dropped considerably from its opener at 69 points to 65.5 points. The UNDER is 7-2 in Texas A&M’s last nine games as the betting favorite.

Texas A&M News & Notes

Texas A&M wrapped up its regular season with a 34-13 win over the Tennessee Volunteers to improve to 7-0 SU over its last seven games and to 3-1 ATS over its last four games. The Aggies’ only loss of the season came against the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the team did have a quality win over the Florida Gators.

But in the end, Texas A&M had to settle for the No. 5 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings behind the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Teams often struggle to get motivated for their bowl games when they feel they should have been in a more important bowl. Will the Aggies have any motivational issues in Kellen Mond’s final game with the program? Texas A&M has gone 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS in its first two bowl games under head coach Jimbo Fisher.

North Carolina News & Notes

North Carolina is going to have plenty of motivational issues of its own in Saturday’s contest. The Tar Heels made history in their 62-26 win over the Miami Hurricanes when Michael Carter and Javonte Williams combined for 544 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, setting a record for the most rushing yards in a single game by two teammates in NCAA history.

Carter finished the regular season with 1,245 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns while Williams finished with 1,140 rushing yards and 19 rushing majors. This dynamic duo helped lead the Tar Heels to an 8-3 SU record and 43 points per game in 2020.

But in a stunning turn of events, both Carter and Williams have opted out of the Orange Bowl, as has the team’s leading wide receiver, Dyami Brown (55 catches for 1,099 yards), and its leading tackler, linebacker Chazz Surratt (91 tackles).

Betting Pick: Texas A&M -7.5

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is still playing on Saturday and is good enough to keep this game somewhat competitive. But the emotional toll and talent loss of so many key players opting out of this game will be too much for the Tar Heels to overcome.

Shark Bites
  • Texas A&M is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games vs ACC teams.
  • UNC is 5-20 SU in its last 25 games as an underdog.
  • The UNDER is 9-4 in Texas A&M’s last 13 games.