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Anthony Russo
AP
Odds and Ends

North Carolina vs Temple college football picks and Military Bowl predictions

by Covers.com
Updated On: December 26, 2019, 12:02 pm ET

Military Bowl: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Temple Owls (+4.5, 53)

 

SPREAD BET

The Tar Heels' 2019 resume is full of heartbreak and close calls. There were overtime losses to Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh, along with a seven-point loss at Virginia in which UNC had two late shots to tie from the 6-yard line but couldn't convert. And then there's the piece de resistance – a one-point defeat to a Clemson team that could very well repeat as national champions. 

In short, this team is far better than its record, and should have no trouble matching its No. 14 offense against an Owls defense that has improved of late but allowed 38+ points three times this season.

PICK: North Carolina -4.5

TOTAL BET

Can Temple hope to keep up with one of the top offensive attacks in the country? We're skeptical based on how the Owls fared on the road this season. Temple averaged just 20 points in five away games in 2019 despite facing just one team ranked inside the Top-50 in total defense over that stretch (and two ranked outside the Top-100 for the season.) 

Temple's offense picked on weaker opponents at home, but won't have familiar territory to lean on in this one – and with their defense likely to challenge the Tar Heels just enough to keep their score reasonable, we're leaning toward the Under on the game total.

PICK: Under 53

 

ALTERNATE BET

Look for this one to get off to a slow start, at least if present trends hold true. The Tar Heels are a slightly-below-average first-quarter team vs. FBS opponents, averaging just 5.3 points per game – and they've been even less impressive of late, with 10 total first-quarter points in their last three contests. 

Temple has been even worse, sporting a 4.0 first-quarter scoring average for the year while producing just 1.4 ppg on the road in the first 15 minutes. It's also worth noting that both teams rank inside the Top-50 in first-quarter scoring defense, making the under on their 1Q total a strong play.

PICK: First Quarter Under

 

TRENDS TO WATCH

• Tar Heels are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.

• Under is 6-2 in Tar Heels last 8 neutral site games.

• Owls are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.

• Over is 4-1 in Owls last 5 vs. ACC opponents.

 

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