Sam Howell

The UNC Tar Heels offense has vaulted them to top five in the country. Photo from @CFBHome (Twitter)

  • No. 5 North Carolina takes on struggling Florida State in Tallahassee on Saturday evening at 7:30pm EST on ABC
  • The Tar Heels haven’t been ranked in the top-five of the AP Top 25 for more than two decades
  • Read below for odds, spread, and analysis on the game

Few college football teams have been more on-brand with 2020 than the Florida State Seminoles.

Nothing has seemingly gone FSU’s way: their head coach contracted COVID-19, and this week they have another game that will almost certainly end in disappointment when North Carolina comes to town.

Florida State lost last week to Notre Dame, 42-26, and its only win through four games this season has come against FCS Jacksonville State.

The Tar Heels head to Tallahassee as 13.5-point favorites and fresh off a shootout win over then No. 19 Virginia Tech. North Carolina is 3-0 this season and 2-1 ATS. Head coach Mack Brown has things humming on offense; UNC is seventh in the nation in total offense and fourth in average yards gained per play.

The spread between these two teams has ballooned since opening at 9.5 on Sunday and the Tar Heels are running away with the amount of cash and tickets placed on them. With one side being favored so heavily, be sure to check on the North Carolina vs Florida State odds before making a play on it at this point.

#5 North Carolina vs Florida State Week 7 Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total Team Total
North Carolina -13.5 (-112) -480 O 64 (-109) O 38.5 (-108); U 38.5 (-121)
Florida State +13.5 (-109) +350 U 64 (-112) O 24.5 (-107); U 24.5 (-122)

Odds taken from DraftKings on Oct. 14th

Howell the Seminoles Keep Up With UNC?

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is 20th in the nation in ESPN Total QBR and is a top-15 passer nationally in completion percentage and yards per attempt.

Florida State has only sacked opposing quarterbacks three times in four games and has the 18th-worst scoring defense in the country.

The Seminoles are ranked 59th out of 76 teams in defensive efficiency, one spot behind Virginia Tech, who allowed 56 points on offense to North Carolina last week. Howell completed 78-percent of his passes for 257 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Hokies.

Jordan Travis the QB1 at Florida State

Travis has been an upgrade at quarterback for FSU, after he replaced James Blackman against JSU.

His status is a little hazy after he sustained a hand injury against the Irish, but head coach Mike Norvell has confirmed that he’s been practicing this week. Having Travis in the lineup is critical for the Seminoles, as he’s their leading passer and rusher on the season. The good news for Florida State’s offense is that either way, the best method to attack North Carolina might be through the running game.

The Heels did well to hold Syracuse and Boston College to modest rushing totals, but they were exposed last week when they gave up 260 yards and four touchdowns to the Hokies.

Florida State’s offensive line hasn’t been anything to get excited about, but it has been a top-25 unit in terms of average yardage gained on plays when yards are available. FSU could also get a lift if offensive tackle Darius Washington is fully recovered from a foot injury he suffered in the season opener against Georgia Tech.

North Carolina has shown it can move the ball on the ground as well. For the season, they are 17th in the nation in rushing offense and last week against VT, running backs Javonte Williams and Michael Carter combined for 383 yards and four touchdowns. Notre Dame was able to gash the FSU defense with big gainers on the ground, so Williams and Carter could feast again here.

The Verdict

North Carolina has the look of a team that could conceivably beat Florida State by two touchdowns, but the opportunity to get the best of the number on the spread is long gone.

UNC is in the top-five of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1997, and if they want to stay there, they need to make another statement with the Big Ten beginning play next week.

As long as Travis is good to go, FSU should have enough in the tank to give a good effort for one more week against a highly-ranked opponent on offense. Unfortunately, the only time the Seminoles defense is likely to come off the field is after allowing Tar Heel touchdowns.

The Pick: UNC Team Total – Over 38.5

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