North Carolina won the ACC Coastal Division last year, finishing 11-3 overall. But for whatever reason the Tar Heels went 0-3 both straight up and against the spread on neutral fields, including at the ACC Championship Game and the Russell Athletic Bowl.
UNC hopes to dodge that trend when it opens this season against Georgia at the Georgia Dome on Saturday afternoon.
Point spread: The Bulldogs opened as three-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 32.8-31.4 Tar Heels
Why the Georgia Bulldogs can cover the spread
Georgia disappointed last year, struggling through injuries, and still won 10 games. The Bulldogs then parted ways with longtime head coach Mark Richt, who just couldn’t seem to get this program over the hump and into national championship contention. Georgia now moves forward under new head coach (and alum) Kirby Smart and should contend for an SEC division title right away.
Smart, who got great results as defensive coordinator at Alabama, inherits 13 returning starters for his first season in charge in Athens. Eight starters are back on offense, including running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel—who combined for over 1,900 rushing yards last season—and three along the offensive line. Five starters are back on a defense that held foes to just 305.9 yards and 16.9 points per game last season.
Many programs experience a learning curve with new coaching regimes, but the Bulldogs, with their talent, have a chance to avoid such a situation.
Why the North Carolina Tar Heels can cover the spread
North Carolina returns 14 starters from the team that won the ACC Coastal last year with a perfect 8-0 conference record. Seven starters are back from an offense that averaged 486.9 yards per game last year, including leading rusher Elijah Hood (1,463 yards, 17 touchdowns), their top two receivers and four along the offensive line.
And seven starters are back on a defense that improved from allowing 39.0 points per game in 2014 to 24.5 points per game last year.
Georgia has the new head coach, but North Carolina is breaking in a new starting quarterback. Also, the Bulldogs will run the ball, and the Tar Heels were terrible against the run last year. Take UGA, a “home” team at a short spread.
The total has gone over in five of North Carolina’s last six games.
North Carolina is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games.
The total has gone under in Georgia’s last six games as a favorite.
All point spread and betting lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Odds Shark on Twitter and YouTube for injury information, line movement updates and more game analysis, and get the free odds tracker app.
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Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football