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Dec 28, 2021

Duke's Mayo Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: UNC vs. South Carolina

Dec. 30, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

The North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6) and South Carolina Gamecocks (6-6) meet at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte Thursday for the Duke's Mayo Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on ESPN.

Score Prediction

North Carolina 36, South Carolina 25

Best Bets

North Carolina -9.5 (-110) at BetMGM

Over 57 (-110) at BetMGM

Duke's Mayo Bowl Predictions

The Tar Heels headed into this season with lofty expectations, but an early loss to Virginia Tech on the road certainly changed the team's outlook. UNC really struggled to just become bowl eligible, and they'll be perfect happy to face South Carolina in a border war in the Duke's Mayo Bowl.

On a side note, and I feel like I need to get this out of the way, I am not paid in any way by Duke's Mayo. But Duke's folks, if you feel strongly about it, hit me up! I am based in North Carolina, though, and feel it is my duty living in the south to inform others, Duke's Mayo is the absolute best. If you use Hellmann's, I mean I guess I can live with that, but those Kraft Real Mayo or Heinz Real Mayonnaise people...c'mon man. But, I guess we can all pick on those psychopaths who enjoy Miracle Whip. Anyway, I have strong opinions on mayo as a fat guy. Now, back to the football.

These teams last met in this very same venue in the regular-season opener on Aug. 31, 2019, with the Tar Heels easing by the Gamecocks by a 24-20 score. South Carolina has won three of the past four installments of this border war, and the inferior Carolina has won six of the past eight meetings since 1988. Yeah, I said it. Again, I am from North Carolina, and I have a strong opinion on that, too.

The UNDER has connected in each of the past four meetings in this series, so when these teams play, they each bow their backs and play tremendous defense against one another.

And hey, South Carolina folks, no hard feelings. We can still be friends. Let's all laugh about Clemson being in the Cheez-It Bowl. See, do you like me a little better now?

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Duke's Mayo Bowl Betting Odds

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Duke's Mayo Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: ACC vs. SEC
  • Date: Thursday, December 30, 2021
  • Venue: Bank of America Stadium
  • Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 11:30 a.m. ET

UNC Tar Heels Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 6-6
  • ATS: 5-7
  • O/U: 7-5

The good news for the Tar Heels is that QB Sam Howell will compete in this game. He completed 62.7% of his pass attempts, passing for 2,851 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions across 11 games this season, while also running for 825 yards and 11 score.

North Carolina hasn't had a whole lot of success in bowl games lately. They were tattooed by a Texas A&M team in the Orange Bowl last season on Jan. 2, 2021, falling 41-27 against a team which had several opt-outs, so perhaps that can be a bit of a cautionary tale. Perhaps temper expectations, even though UNC looks to be in good shape with several key opt-outs and transfer portal players departing Columbia.

The Tar Heels are also just 1-4 SU across the past five bowl games, while winning just three bowl games in the past 11 postseason contests. You only need to look back to last season for an SEC bowl foe, but prior to that UNC lost to Missouri in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26, 2011. Their last win against a SEC team in the postseason was a Peach Bowl win over Auburn on Dec. 31, 2001, when John Bunting was the head honcho.

It's last appearance in Charlotte was the Belk Bowl, which is what this bowl was previously named. The Tar Heels worked over Cincinnati by a 39-17 count in Larry Fedora's only bowl win during his employ. That snapped a three-game losing skid in Charlotte bowl games, including a 19-17 loss on Dec. 26, 2009 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl to Pittsburgh, now a fellow ACC member.

The Heels are 1-4 ATS in the past five non-conference games, and 3-7 ATS in the past 10 neutral-site outings. They're also 2-5 ATS in the past seven games overall. The UNDER is 4-1 in the past five vs. SEC opponents, too.

South Carolina Gamecocks Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 6-6
  • ATS: 5-6-1
  • O/U: 5-7

The Gamecocks will be without QB Jason Brown, as he entered the transfer portal, unhappy about the fact the team is bringing in former Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler. QB Zeb Noland will get the start. He completed 50-of-90 passes, just 55.6%, while going for 597 yards, six touchdowns and one interception in his six appearances this season.

South Carolina will also be without RB ZaQuandre White, the team's leading rusher, and EDGE Kingsley Enagbare. Both players opted to enter the 2022 NFL Draft, and will skip the game to avoid potential injury. White gathered a team-high 583 yards with two touchdowns, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt. Enagbare totaled 44 tackles (29 solo) with a team-best 4.5 sacks, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, so his presence will certainly be missed by the Gamecocks.

The Gamecocks return to bowl season for the first time since Dec. 29, 2008, a 28-0 whitewashing at the hands of Virginia in the previously named Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Current San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel opted out of that game, while current NFL WRs Shi Smith and Olamide Zaccheaus had big days for the Hoos.

You only need to look back to the 2014 Independence Bowl for a South Carolina bowl win over an ACC foe, as it topped Miami (Fla.) by a 24-21 score under Steve Spurrier.

The Gamecocks enter 4-1 ATS in the past five bowl games, while going 6-2 ATS in the past eight neutral-site games. The Cocks are just 2-5 ATS in the past seven overall, while going 3-11 ATS in the past 14 games as an underdog and 0-4 ATS in the past four vs. ACC foes.

Inside the Stats - UNC Tar Heels

  • Record: 6-6
  • VI Ranking: 43
  • Points Scored: 437
  • Points Allowed: 379
  • PS/G: 36.4
  • PA/G: 31.6

Inside the Stats - South Carolina Gamecocks

  • Record: 6-6
  • VI Ranking: 53
  • Points Scored: 256
  • Points Allowed: 291
  • PS/G: 21.3
  • PA/G: 24.3

Key Players to Watch

  • UNC: Ty Chandler - RB (173 rushes, 1,063 yards, 13 TD)
  • UNC: Sam Howell - QB (205/327, 2,851 yards, 34 total TDs, 9 INT)
  • SC: Zeb Noland - QB (50/90, 597 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT)
  • SC: Josh Vann - WR (43 catches, 668 yards, 6 TD)

Duke's Mayo Bowl Betting Conclusion

While I was reminded my friend and hockey teammate Adam, a recent UNC graduate, that the offensive line of the Tar Heels has been pretty bad this season, the fact remains that North Carolina has way more talent at the skill positions in this bowl game than South Carolina. The Tar Heels have an NFL-caliber quarterback, while the Gamecocks have a shaky option under center. Chandler is going to be able to find plenty of open room to run, assuming that shoddy O-line can bust open some holes, as the South Carolina rush defense ranked 99th in the nation with 179.2 yards per game allowed.

While South Carolina is happy to return to the bowl season, and glad to be in Charlotte when fans can easily trek up Interstate 77, North Carolina isn't satisfied being here. They entered the season with aspirations of an ACC Division title, an ACC Championship and perhaps a run at the College Football Playoff. Those dreams were dashed before the leaves even started to change colors. Can North Carolina bring it and use its talent to win this game? The Tar Heels should be able to blow past an offensively-challenged Gamecocks side, but UNC is a perennial disappointment come bowl season. The play is UNC to win by more than a touchdown, but be careful not to get carried away. A pre-noon kickoff also might mean a slow start for both offenses before things pick up significantly as the game goes along.

Duke's Mayo Bowl Betting Trends

  • North Carolina is 2-5 ATS in the past seven games overall.
  • North Carolina is 3-7 ATS in the past 10 neutral-site games.
  • North Carolina is 1-4 ATS in the past five games vs. SEC.
  • South Carolina is 4-1 ATS in the past five bowl games.
  • South Carolina is 2-5 ATS in the past seven games overall.
  • South Carolina is 6-2 ATS in the past eight neutral-site games.
  • South Carolina is 3-11 ATS in the past 14 games as an underdog.
  • South Carolina is 0-4 ATS in the past four games vs. ACC.
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in North Carolina's past five vs. SEC.
  • The UNDER is 6-0 in South Carolina's past six non-conference games.
  • The UNDER is 20-7 in South Carolina's past 27 vs. ACC.


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