Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Week 13 Predictions, Odds

  • November 27, 2020
  • By Joe Nelson

The Friday after Thanksgiving is always a huge college football day and the afternoon schedule is providing a huge ACC game in the national spotlight.

Given the scoring potential of Notre Dame and North Carolina and the national stakes the entertainment value will be high in a great contest early in the college football weekend.


Notre Dame-North Carolina Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Notre Dame -4.5
  • Money-Line: Notre Dame -200 North Carolina +150
  • Total: 66.5

Odds Subject to Change

North Carolina has gone 1-18 all-time against Notre Dame but the oddsmakers believe the Tar Heels have a shot to win this Friday. (AP)

How to Handicap Notre Dame-North Carolina

Many scoffed at Mack Brown returning to North Carolina but now almost two seasons the Tar Heels have been one of the most entertaining teams in college football.

UNC quarterback Sam Howell projects as a 2022 1st round draft pick and the sophomore has posted huge numbers again this season after making headlines as a freshman.


With a shaky defense the Tar Heels are also in close games almost every week as well. Nine of the team’s 13 games in a 7-6 campaign last season wound up decided by a single-score and four more have been this season with North Carolina sitting at 6-2.

Notre Dame has been a polarizing team for many years and high profile blowout losses to Clemson in the 2018-19 Playoffs and to Alabama 2012-13 BCS Championship means the Irish will draw suspicion as a playoff contender this season.

The huge overtime win over Clemson in early November comes with a huge asterisk with Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence not playing but there is no question that if the Irish win out and reach an 11-0 mark that no other team in the nation is likely to reach, they will be in the tournament.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly is now 80-37 at Notre Dame and on his way to a fourth straight double-digit win season as the Irish are back to being consistently relevant nationally.

With Howell and Notre Dame senior QB Ian Book this is a contest of two high-profile quarterbacks as well as head coaches. Book doesn’t have Howell’s NFL pedigree and at best would be a late-round flier or an undrafted player hoping to catch on to a practice squad next spring.

He is going to wind up as the second most prolific passer in Notre Dame’s rich history however, likely passing up Jimmy Clausen at #2 this week. Book has also rushed for nearly 1,400 yards in his career. It seems likely that both quarterbacks will have good production in this game as the outcome will hinge on which defense can make a few big plays.

Betting Analysis – Notre Dame

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • 2020: 8-0 S/U, 4-4 ATS, 5-3 O/U

Notre Dame’s first season in the ACC has been a great success so far after years of criticism of the schedule for the Irish and many suggesting the team wouldn’t do as well in the week-to-week grind of conference play.

This season has provided a disjointed schedule and the Irish did avoid some of the usual powers in the ACC this season with teams like Miami and Virginia Tech absent.

Of the eight other teams that are currently 3-3 or better in ACC play, Notre Dame has played three of them and will have two more ahead with North Carolina this week and a rescheduled game with Wake Forest in December as it will be a quality path by 2020 standards.

Notre Dame has already played three road games with three of the past four games on the road, winning all three of those games and going 2-1 ATS as a heavy road favorite in each game.

The defense for the Irish will be in the spotlight this week to make-or-break the season. Notre Dame allowed only 62 combined points in its 6-0 start but has allowed 71 points in back-to-back narrow wins in November. The run defense has been exceptional however as Clemson gained only 1.0 yard per rush on 33 attempts and Notre Dame is among the national leaders allowing only 85 rushing yards per game on 2.9 yards per carry.

Both of these teams struggled against Florida State this season with mobile quarterback Jordan Travis posting big rushing numbers in each of those games, a competitive 42-26 loss to the Irish and a 31-28 upset over the Tar Heels.

Howell has only 73 rushing yards this season while Book is an accomplished rusher, second on the team this season with 364 yards on 4.9 yards per carry with six rushing touchdowns. While he should have success in the air in this matchup, Book’s feet seem likely to provide some big first downs or possible scoring plays in this game if Notre Dame is to win.

Friday's College Football Best Bets

Betting Analysis - North Carolina

  • 2020: 6-2 S/U, 4-4 ATS, 5-3 O/U

North Carolina was considered a clear threat in the ACC this season, even long before the changes to the schedule took place over the summer.

The revised slate kept Clemson off the schedule for the Tar Heels and many felt that North Carolina would be favored in every game this season.

North Carolina has been a favorite in each of the first eight games of the season but will wind up a slight underdog this week at home and depending on this week’s result, could see a slight underdog price in Miami in the season finale as well.

Like last season, North Carolina has endured some close game failures. The 31-28 loss at Florida State in October now looks like a stunning result but it was a flat spot on the schedule following a shootout win over Virginia Tech.

After falling behind 31-7, the Tar Heels nearly came back to win, suffering a handful of dropped passes on a late drive into Florida State territory. The loss at Virginia was another game the Tar Heels started slow in and couldn’t get the stop it needed to get the ball back.

Another slow start occurred in the last game for North Carolina, falling behind 45-24 hosting Wake Forest before a huge fourth quarter run to win. That type of slow start isn’t likely to be as easy to overcome against Notre Dame.

While the Tar Heels are 6-2, N.C. State is the only team that North Carolina has defeated that has a winning record.

The defensive numbers are skewed given how good the offense has been as opponents get more possessions against North Carolina. The numbers have only improved minimally from last season however even through a lighter schedule as last season’s path featured a difficult ACC schedule and a few tough non-conference games.

While Howell is the focus of the offense the Tar Heels also have run the ball very successfully, with 1,868 yards on 5.6 yards per carry.

Javonte Williams and Michael Carter are both on track to eclipse 1,000 yards this season and each is averaging more than 7.0 yards per carry. Coincidently Notre Dame also enters this game with exactly 1,868 rushing yards though with 26 more attempts.

Historically Speaking


These teams have met 19 times and Notre Dame has won 18 of those games.

Only four of those games have come since 1975 however with Notre Dame 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS in four recent meetings.

North Carolina’s lone win in this series game with a 29-24 home win in 2008 and the most recent meeting between these teams was also in Chapel Hill with a 33-10 win for the Irish in 2017.

Given the offensive numbers this season this contest seems more likely to resemble the 2014 meeting which was a 50-43 win for the Irish in South Bend.

Last Meeting - 2017 (Notre Dame 33 North Carolina 10)

Notable Betting Trends

-- Under Kelly, Notre Dame is 27-18 S/U and 24-21 ATS in road games with a 15-14 ATS mark as a road favorite.

-- Since 2017 Notre Dame is 11-6 ATS in road games, going 10-5 ATS as a road favorite, winning each of the past four instances as a road favorite of fewer than 10 points.

-- Brown in 20-13-1 ATS as a home underdog in his career including going 2-0 ATS last season back with North Carolina.

-- Since 2013 North Carolina is 29-19 S/U at home with a 25-21-2 ATS record, going 7-6 ATS as a home underdog.

Notre Dame-North Carolina Predictions

  • Score Prediction: Notre Dame 38 North Carolina 31
  • Best Bet: Over 66.5

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