Last Updated Nov 25, 2022, 3:34 PM
North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Pick, Predictions, Odds
Sports Betting Expert
The North Carolina Tar Heels' slim College Football Playoff chances were reduced to zero after last week's loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
North Carolina can get to 10 wins for the first time since 2015 with a victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack to close out the regular season though. These teams will face off on Friday, November 25, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC from Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Betting Prediction
At the start of the season, many pundits pegged the North Carolina State Wolfpack as a fringe contender to make the CFP. The Wolfpack got off to a 4-0 start, but their aspirations were dashed when quarterback Devin Leary suffered a season-ending injury. They have had to make do with three other quarterbacks since that point, leading to the Wolfpack being 3-4 in ACC play. That will make it difficult for them to knock off their biggest in-state rival in the North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday afternoon in Chapel Hill, but they have an elite defense that can make life difficult for the Tar Heels.
Score Prediction: North Carolina State 28, North Carolina 24
Best Bet: NC State +6.5
North Carolina State Wolfpack Betting Analysis
Freshman M.J. Morris is atop the depth chart at quarterback coming into this week. Morris didn't play last Saturday against Louisville due to injury, and the Wolfpack would love to have him available against North Carolina. He is 2-1 as a starter and has completed 60.5% of his passes for 648 yards (7.5 YPA) with seven touchdowns and one interception coming into this game. If he is unable to go, then fellow freshman Ben Finley will likely start under center for the Wolfpack. Finley saw his first action last week against Louisville, replacing an ineffective Jack Chambers, and he completed 16 of 35 passes for 201 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Thayer Thomas is the only real threat in the passing game with 51 receptions for 586 yards and four touchdowns. No one else on NC State has more than 25 receptions or 300 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Jordan Houston is the top running back with 500 yards (4.2 YPC). Demie Sumo-Karngbaye is out due to injury, so the No. 2 running back will be Michael Allen.
This NC State defense is ranked 14th in SP+. They are allowing just 20.3 PPG, and their front seven has been one of the best in the nation at stopping the run. Drake Thomas has been excellent and leads the team with 80 tackles and 5.5 sacks, while cornerback Aydan White has four interceptions and eight passes defensed.
North Carolina Tar Heels Betting Analysis
Drake Maye was a fringe Heisman Trophy contender until he laid an egg in last week's loss to Georgia Tech. Maye completed just 16 of 30 passes for 202 yards and an interception, as he was sacked six times by the Yellow Jackets. He has been one of the most productive passers in college football this season though, completing 68.8% of his passes for 3,614 yards (9.2 YPA) with 34 touchdowns and four interceptions in his first season as a starter. Additionally, Maye leads the team with 597 rushing yards, and he is averaging 4.1 YPC with five rushing TDs.
The top target in this offense is Josh Downs. He could be a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and he leads the Tar Heels with 77 receptions for 878 yards and 11 touchdowns. Antoine Green is a scary deep threat that is averaging 22.6 YPR, and Maye likes to use tight ends Bryson Nesbit and Kamari Morales too. Underclassmen Omarion Hampton and Elijah Green are the two running backs to watch for UNC.
North Carolina has a great offense that is ranked 9th in SP+, but this defense is 100th in SP+. The Tar Heels are surrendering a shocking 464.7 YPG, and they rank outside the top 100 nationally in both run defense and pass defense. Linebacker Cedric Gray has done his best, but there just isn't a lot of talent on this side of the ball in Chapel Hill.