The Virginia Cavaliers will look to keep things rolling this week when they visit the North Carolina Tar Heels. Game time is at 3:30 EST on Saturday, October 14 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Fans can watch the game on ACC Network Extra.
Oddsmakers list Virginia as 4-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the game is 54 points. Click here for a full list of Week 7 betting odds and links to game previews.
Virginia vs North Carolina Game Preview & Betting Odds
Virginia has quietly been one of the biggest surprises in the ACC this year. The Cavs have non-league wins over UConn and Boise State. But last week’s win over Duke in their conference opener showed that Virginia is legit. Bronco Mendenhall has turned things around rather quickly in his second season in Charlottesville. At the moment, he has the Cavaliers on pace to play in a bowl game for the first time since 2011.
Meanwhile, the Tar Heels are going backward just two years after winning the ACC Coastal division. UNC is just 1-5, with the only win coming against Old Dominion. Injuries have been the catalyst for North Carolina’s woes this season. After the Tar Heels managed to remain competitive in early-season losses against Cal and Louisville, they have lost by more than 20 points the last two weeks against Georgia Tech and Notre Dame.
The yearly matchup between North Carolina and Virginia is dubbed the South’s Oldest Rivalry. Not surprisingly, the Tar Heels have dominated recently, winning the last seven games in the series. But Virginia has to see this week as an opportunity to beat UNC for the first time since 2009.
Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: Virginia -4
Virginia probably isn’t ready to compete for the top spot in the ACC Coastal division, but the Cavs are definitely better than this injury-riddled North Carolina team. Earlier this year, Virginia went on the road and beat a solid Boise State team by 19 points. That’s enough to convince me that they can cover a 4-point spread in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina simply can’t move the ball right now. Wide receiver Austin Proehl hasn’t played the last two games because of injury, yet he’s still the team’s leading receiver on the season. Freshman quarterback Chazz Surratt had some promising moments early in the season, but he’s still completing fewer than 60% of his passes on the season. Opposing teams have also adjusted to his running ability and managed to keep him relatively contained the last two weeks.
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The Virginia defense is not exactly a dominating unit, but the Cavaliers are good enough on that side of the ball to slow down a freshman quarterback who lacks playmakers around him. Last week, Virginia was able to limit Duke to just 255 total yards on offense, in addition to scoring a defensive touchdown that ended up being the difference in the game.
On offense, quarterback Kurt Benkert has had an outstanding season. He’s taking care of the football, only throwing three interceptions. He has also completed 64% of his passes this season while averaging more 40 attempts per game. The Cavaliers are putting the entire offense in his hands, and he’s responded positively. This week, he’ll face a team that gives up 33 points per game and was steamrolled by Notre Dame last week.
At this point in the season, UNC is just playing for pride, and that’s not enough. Meanwhile, a program like Virginia isn’t going to take a little success for granted. The Cavaliers are going to play every game like they’re fighting for a bowl game and that’ll push them toward a convincing win over UNC that easily covers the spread.