The college football season is just a couple of months away, and with the basketball season in the rearview, it’s time to dive into some plays in the future market. I’m looking to play a team that’s built up some hype the last couple of years in the ACC and fade them. The ACC Coastal should be a competitive division, and this team has lost a ton of talent the last two years.
Let’s make some money on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Tar Heels were somewhat of a surprise team in 2020, finishing that weird COVID season with an 8-3 record in the regular season, while going on to lose the Orange Bowl. There was a ton of hype surrounding UNC entering 2021, primarily due to quarterback Sam Howell.
Once favored to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 Draft, Howell was expected to carry Carolina to another big season in the ACC in 2021 — opening the season ranked No. 10 nationally. However, it appears we overlooked just how valuable all the skill players around Howell were. With all of those top weapons leaving for the 2021 draft, and much less help on the offensive line, Howell looked pedestrian in his final season in college.
Now Howell’s off to the league, and slid into the fifth-round to the Commanders, and the team lost another 1,000-yard rusher in Ty Chandler. Meanwhile, Mack Brown and company haven’t done anything close to the type of reload needed to have an 8-4 season and clear this win total mark.
The QB position is up in the air for this team, and while they may be well coached with Brown, the Tar Heels are very young. Their youth caught up to them last season, as a heavily penalized team that performed awful in the red zone — and that was with an professional-caliber QB. North Carolina was also dreadful on the road, going 0-6 away from home — also potentially due to inexperience.
Finally, let’s consider the schedule. UNC has a couple of non-conference games they should easily get, and then do play ACC bottom-feeders in Duke and Georgia Tech. So let’s give them four wins right there. There are also five probable losses to much tougher opponents (which would win us our under right here) — Notre Dame, at Miami, Pittsburgh, at Wake Forest and NC State.
But let’s make this interesting and say the Heels are able to steal one of those games that they’ll be underdogs in. That means UNC will have to win all three of these coin flip type of games remaining on their schedule. Their second game is a road game at Appalachian State in which they are only three-point favorites (and I’m leaning towards playing the home dog there already). That leaves Virginia Tech and at Virginia both as must-win games too. That’s a big ask.
The bottom line is that this team is going to have to be much better than expected to get to eight wins, including some big wins over much better teams. The hype of the last two seasons seems to be putting a premium on this win total. A lot of other shops are showing win totals of 6.5 on North Carolina, so even at -135, I think we’re getting really great value on this under 7.5. I’m going to project UNC at 6-6 in 2022.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
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