Top US sportsbooks online favor Notre Dame over UNC when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the North Carolina Tar Heels play on Saturday in college football action at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Notre Dame is coming off a matchup with California. The Irish notched a seven-point win. The Tar Heels are coming off an open weekend. North Carolina last faced Georgia State in a seven-point win.
After they earned their first win under coach Marcus Freeman, the Fighting Irish (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) will try to get back to .500 on their visit to the North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0, 1-1-1). North Carolina has won 8 of its last 9 home games. They enjoyed a bye last week.
Per the best online sportsbooks, North Carolina has been a home dog just once in the last three seasons (against Notre Dame in 2020), but the Tar Heels will, barring any unforeseen event, find themselves in that position again this week. Top sportsbooks online opened the Irish as 1.5-point favorites on their visit to Chapel Hill. They set the total at 60.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Odds by BetUs
|Notre Dame||+2 ( -110 )|
55½ ( -110 )
|North Carolina||-2 ( -110 )||55½ ( -110 )||-130|
Betting Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish breathed a sigh of relief last week against California. They edged the Golden Bears 24-17 for Freeman’s first win as Notre Dame’s head coach. The Irish lost their bowl game under Freeman last winter. They then lost their first two games. They rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit versus Cal to avoid being just the third Notre Dame team in history to begin a season 0-3 SU. In their first game since they lost starting quarterback Tyler Buchner to injury for the season, Chris Tyree and Audric Estime had a bigger role in the offense.
They combined for 140 yards and a TD on 35 carries. Drew Pyne threw for 150 yards and two TDs in his first career start. Tight end Michael Mayer was held to just two catches for 10 yards.
Notre Dame should be more confident after last week’s win over California. The Irish have demonstrated that they can win in tough settings. They have gone 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS in their past 10 games on the road. Notre Dame’s ability to find stops on defense could make the difference.
Notre Dame had a tough outing against Ohio State in their first game of the season. The Irish led 10-7 at halftime, but eventually lost 21-10. In game two against Marshall, Notre Dame was losing by two at halftime and lost again 26-21.
Against California, the Irish were losing 17-14 going into the fourth quarter. Notre Dame rallied from there in a 24-17 win. Drew Pyne passed for 150 yards with two scores. Audric Estime had 76 yards and a score on 18 carries.
One of the top offenses in the country might just get even better. Wide receiver Josh Downs could return to the lineup after he missed the last two-plus games with a knee injury. Downs established reception and receiving yards records last season as a sophomore.
He’s also a dangerous weapon returning the punt. North Carolina’s attack hasn’t missed Downs a lot so far. They rank fifth in the nation in total yards per game and sixth in points scored. But the defense has been bad. They sit near the bottom in total yards and scoring defense. North Carolina had a bye last week. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the Heels come out with different looks against the Irish.
Having an additional week to prepare could be a huge edge for the Tar Heels, in particular, if they’re able to address some of their defensive problems. The Heels need to obligate the Irish to defeat them through the air and turn this game into a shootout.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Pick
We’re probably going to take Notre Dame, but it could go either way. Notre Dame had a lukewarm 297 total yards and went just 3-of-12 on third-down attempts. On the plus side the defense was pretty strong. As for North Carolina, they have been playing it quite tight in the last couple of games.
In the Georgia State contest, the Tar Heels were hit and miss. UNC had three turnovers and a sketchy 6-of-13 on third-down tries in that one. They also benefitted from 12 penalties from the Panthers. The additional week of practice and rest should help North Carolina, however.