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Thursday Night Showdown: Miami at North Carolina

The undefeated Miami Hurricanes invade North Carolina to take on the reeling Tar Heels, who have lost three consecutive games and stand at 1-4 on the season.  Based on what I have read, Miami is not taking this game for granted as head coach Al Golden is emphasizing the importance of maintaining a game-by-game approach.  “At the end of the season we’ll count them up and see where we’re at,” Golden said.  “We’re 0-0 going into this game.  All that matters right now is going to Chapel Hill, being a mature team, having poise, playing with pose, communicating, executing. The rest of it doesn’t really matter.”

Miami was initially installed as 8-point favorites in this affair, although early money has favored the Hurricanes, who are now 9-point road favorites.  From a fundamental standpoint, Miami is averaging 45.2 points per game on 5.9 yards per rush play, 10.3 yards per pass attempt and 489 total yards (7.8 yards per play).  The explosive nature of the Hurricanes’ attack is best evidenced by the fact that they are averaging 10.8 yards per point, which is 0.8 yards per point better than average. Overall, Miami is 1.1 yards per rush play, 3.1 yards per pass attempt and 1.9 yards per play better than average.

Miami Offense vs. North Carolina Defense:

  • +0.9 yards per rush play advantage
  • +4.0 yards per pass attempt advantage
  • +2.0 yards per play advantage overall

Based on the numbers above, it is hard to imagine how North Carolina will stop the Hurricanes from scoring at will.  Fortunately for North Carolina fans, the disparity in talent is not as extreme when the Tar Heels have the ball.  Specifically, North Carolina is 0.8 yards per pass attempt and 0.2 yards per play better than average offensively, although the Tar Heels are 0.7 yards per rush play worse than average.

Miami Defense vs. North Carolina Offense:

  • +0.8 yards per rush play advantage
  • -0.1 yards per pass attempt disadvantage
  • +0.1 yards per play advantage overall

North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora also believes that his team’s season is still salvageable.  “There is no doubt in my mind that it is and it starts today, or yesterday or whenever you want it to start, it starts now.  It’s just about us getting better,” he said.  From a technical standpoint, North Carolina is 11-2 ATS in games off three consecutive losses, including a perfect 6-0 ATS the last six.   The pressure to remain undefeated increases by the week for Miami, and I believe the value rests with the wounded home underdog.

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