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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Miami Hurricanes Free Pick 10/17/13

Miami Hurricanes (5-0) at North Carolina Tar Heels (1-4)

NCAAF Football: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7:30 pm (Kenan Stadium)

The Line: North Carolina Tar Heels 8.5 -- Over/Under: 64 See the Latest Odds


The Miami Hurricanes travel to North Carolina to play the Tar Heels on Thursday night.

The Hurricanes can improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2004 with a road win over the Tar Heels on Thursday night. Miami has earned a spot in the top 10 ranking for the first time in four years. Miami improved to 5-0 with a win over Georgia Tech at home their last time out. The Hurricanes had to overcome a 17-7 first-quarter deficit and four turnovers for a 45-30 victory over the Yellow Jackets on October 5th. RB Duke Johnson, fourth in the FBS with 190.8 all-purpose yards per game, ran for 184 yards on 22 carries, caught a pass for 27 yards and totaled 114 yards on four kickoff returns. QB Stephen Morris was 17 of 22 for 324 yards and three touchdowns, though he was picked off twice. Morris improved his passer rating to 169.7, ninth best in the country. Morris struggled in an 18-14 home loss to the Tar Heels last year, going 12 of 26 for 155 yards with two interceptions before leaving the game due to an ankle injury. However, Morris will face a North Carolina defense this week that has surrendered the most yards in the ACC. The Hurricanes look to score at least 40 points for a fourth straight game for the first time since 1987. The Miami defense is giving up 16 points per game and has 18 sacks, by 13 different players, to tie for 12th-most nationally.

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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Miami Hurricanes Free Pick 10/17/13

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels stand at 1-4 on the year after losing at Virginia Tech 27-17 their last time out. The Tar Heels allowed three passing scored in the first half and are now in danger of suffering their fourth consecutive loss in the same regular season for the first time since 2007. North Carolina is averaging 23.6 points per game on offense, while allowing an average of 31.4 points on defense. The offense ranks 78th in total yards with 392.8 per game, 24th in passing yards at 292, and 116th in rushing yards with 100 per game. The Tar Heels are 1-1 at home this season and have dropped six straight games against top 10 teams dating back to 2004. QB Bryn Renner is expected back at quarterback after having his consecutive starts streak snapped at 29 due to an ankle injury. Renner has thrown for 1117 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. RB Blue and RB Morris have combined for 358 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns this season. WR Ebron leads the team in receiving with 23 catches for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns. The North Carolina defense is allowing the most yards in the ACC at 436 per game and they will have their hands full against an explosive Miami offense on Thursday night.

Miami is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against a team with a losing record. The underdog is 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 meetings. The over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in North Carolina.

Miami, which was winless in four trips to Chapel Hill prior to a 30-24 win in 2011, and they can even the all-time series at 8 wins on Thursday. Miami has one of the best pass defenses in the nation as they have allowed only two passing touchdowns, fewest in the country. This poses a big problem for North Carolina who relies heavily on the passing game, while their rushing attack has been nonexistent most of the year. North Carolina has struggled on defense and will face a Hurricanes offense that has put up 40 or more points in three straight games. This game is a mismatch on both sides of the ball and I think Miami wins on the road by double digits.

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