CFB Thursday and we will see the North Carolina Tar Heels travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the Virginia Cavaliers. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have North Carolina favored by 3.5 points, while the total sits at 61.5. Check out Sportsbook Spy to find out what side the Public is taking on all today's games.
Free Analysis: The Tar Heels have alternated wins and losses over their last four games, including their first home loss of the season this past Saturday against Georgia Tech. In a game the featured no shortage of offense the Tar Heels wound up on the wrong side of a 68-50 decision. North Carolina had no answer for Georgia Tech's running game, surrendering 380 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. UNC is now 6-4 overall, while splitting its six conference games. As its effort against Georgia Tech may indicate, the North Carolina has had no problem on offense this season. The Tar Heels are the third ranked offense in terms of scoring (40.5 ppg) and total yards (488.7 pg) in the ACC this season. Much of the offensive success stems from the playmaking ability of dynamic running back Giovani Bernard. Bernard has been one of the most explosive offensive players in the conference and perhaps the country this season. He has amassed 1,008 rushing yards on 142 carries, for a stellar 7.1 yards per carry averaged. He is also second on the team in receiving with 38 receptions for 411 yards. Ignoring the passing game would be a mistake. Bryn Renner has enjoyed a very successful season in which he has thrown for 2,736 yards and 20 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. His quarterback efficiency rating (144.23) is the third best mark in the conference, behind Tajh Boyd of Clemson and E.J. Manuel of Florida State. While the offense has had no shortage of success, the Tar Heels' defensive effort has been rather mundane. North Carolina is right in the middle of conference in scoring defense (25.7 ppg) as well as total yards allowed (392.1 ypg). Where the Tar Heels have been able to shine on defense is in creating negative plays. North Carolina has racked up 79 tackles for loss this season, tops in the ACC.
On the other side Virginia is still fighting for its postseason life and staved off elimination from bowl contention with a thrilling 41-40 win at home over Miami-Florida. With six seconds remaining, Michael Rocco connected with tight end Jake McGee in the back of the end zone to give the Cavaliers a much needed victory. The Cavaliers finally have figured out their quarterback rotation. Michael Rocco made his first start since September and played brilliantly against Miami, throwing for 300 yards and four touchdowns to earn ACC Offensive Back of the Week honors. On the season Rocco has thrown for more touchdowns (12), yards (1,585) and for a better completion percentage (61.5) but has been intercepted twice as much as Sims. Shared snaps will likely be in order this weekend. In the backfield the tandem of Kevin Parks and Perry Jones has been the main source of production. Parks leads the team in rushing yards (660) and rushing touchdowns (five). Jones has been more of a dynamic offensive weapon this season with his ability to run (395 yards) as well as contribute in the passing game (41 receptions, 341 yards). Virginia has been one of the better teams in the conference when it comes to yards allowed this season. The Cavaliers are third in the conference in total defense (349.1 ypg). Unfortunately that has not translated on the scoreboard with Virginia a distant eighth in the ACC in scoring defense (29.3 ppg). Much of that comes from the fact that Virginia has struggled to hold onto the ball this season, as the Cavaliers have the worst turnover margin in the ACC (-12).
Free Pick: I like the Over in this one. This North Carolina defense is having a rough time of late as they have allowed 544 ypg and 45.3 ppg in their last 3 games. The Carolina defense has been very bad vs the pass over that stretch, allowing 317 ypg through the air and they will be facing one of the better pass offenses in the league in Virginia. The Cavs have really had a nice passing game this year as they have averaged 284 ypg (33rd in nation) through the air this year, while at home they have averaged 327.2 ypg passing. They should have another solid passing day in this and they will have to if they hope to keep pace with this high powered Carolina attack. The Heels come in ranked 15th in total offense (488.7 ypg) and 10th in scoring offense (40.5 ppg). This is a balanced offense that ranks 29th in the nation in passing (287.7 ypg) and 30th in rushing (201 ypg). Carolina does run a very quick no-huddle offense, which will tire out a defense and that should allow them to put up plenty of points on this tough Virginia defense. The Cavs defense is tough overall, but last week they did allow Miami 420 yards and 40 points and this Carolina offense is much better than the Canes. ESPN should be glad to have this game as it will be a fun one, with both teams topping the 30 point mark.
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College Football Free Picks: North Carolina at Virginia Betting
What college football bettors need to know about North Carolina Tar Heels at Virginia Cavaliers on Thursday (11/15/12) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Chuck Edel, with Vegas Runner and host Chris Andrews.