Texas A&M at North Carolina: 1/2/21 College Football Picks and Prediction
Photo by Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
North Carolina Tar Heels (8-3) vs Texas A&M Aggies (8-1)
Game Info: Saturday, January 2, 2021 at 8:00 pm (Hard Rock Stadium)
Betting Odds: North Carolina Tar Heels +5.5 -- Over/Under: 69 Click Here for the Latest Odds
Where to Watch: ESPN Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!
The 5th ranked Texas A&M Aggies and 13th ranked North Carolina Tar Hells will square off at Hard Rock Stadium on January 2nd in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
The 5th ranked Texas A&M Aggies finished their regular season with an overall record of 8-1 and finished 2nd in SEC (West) play with an 8-1 conference record. It was a slow start for the Aggies this season as they barely beat Vanderbilt to open their season and then quickly fell to 1-1 after a 52-24 loss at the hands of the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Texas A&M was able to bounce back quickly from their lost to the Crimson Tide with a 41-38 victory over Florida and put themselves into considering for the CFB Playoffs after reeling off 7 straight wins to close out their season. This will be the 12th straight Bowl game for the Aggies, and they will be looking to go 3-0 in Bowl games under Jimbo Fisher.
On the season, Texas A&M is averaging 31.9 ppg on 437.2 total yards per game (234.3 passing yds/g; 202.9 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Texas A&M has been led by QB Kellen Mond who has completed 63.5% of his passes for 2,050 yards, 19 TD, & 3 INT. The top receiving threats for the Aggies have been Jalen Wydermyer (45 rec, 502 yards, 6 TD), Ainias Smith (37 rec, 439 yards, 6 TD), Chase Lane (28 rec, 382 yards, 2 TD), and Caleb Chapman (14 rec, 197 yards, 3 TD). Leading the way for the Aggies backfield has been the duo of Isaiah Spiller (177 att, 986 yards, 7 TD) and Ainias Smith (49 att, 293 yards, 4 TD).
Defensively, Texas A&M is holding their opponents to an average of 21.1 ppg on 316.6 total yards per game (224.3 passing yds/g; 92.2 rushing yds/g).
The 13th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels finished their season with an overall record of 8-3 while finishing t-4th in ACC play with a 7-3 conference record. North Carolina got off to a solid start to their season, which included a 56-45 victory over the 19th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, however, the Tar Heels did suffer a few bad losses during the middle of their season against Florida State & Virginia. North Carolina won 4 of their last 5 games, including an impressive 62-26 victory over the 10th ranked Miami Hurricanes in their regular season finale. North Carolina will be playing in their 2nd straight Bowl game and will hope to make it two straight wins after defeating the Temple Owls, 55-13, in last year’s Military Bowl.
On the season, North Carolina is averaging 43.0 ppg on 556.6 total yards per game (307.5 passing yds/g; 249.1 rushing yds/g). Offensively, North Carolina has been led by QB Sam Howell who has completed 69.1% of his passes for 3,352 yards, 27 TD, & 6 INT. Howell doesn’t run much, but he will punch it in near the goal line as he has 5 rushing TD’s on the season. The top receivers for the Tar Heels have been Dyami Brown (55 rec, 1,099 yards, 8 TD), Dazz Newsome (48 rec, 616 yards, 5 TD), Javonte Williams (25 rec, 305 yards, 3 TD), and Khafre Brown (13 rec, 297 yards, 2 TD). Leading the way for the North Carolina backfield has been the duo of Michael Carter (156 att, 1,245 yards, 9 TD) and Javonte Williams (157 att, 1,140 yards, 19 TD). Both Dyami Brown & Michael Carter will not be available as they have opted out of this game to prepare for the NFL draft.
Defensively, North Carolina is allowing their opponents to average 28.4 ppg on 395.8 total yards per game (248.0 passing yds/g; 147.8 rushing yds/g).
The Aggies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. ACC opponents and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win.
I’m looking forward to this matchup as I’m excited to see if the high-scoring North Carolina offense will be able to find success against the Texas A&M defense. North Carolina is a solid team, however, they rely on their offense which will be missing a big piece in Michael Carter and it’s hard to imagine that the rushing attack of the Tar Heels will find success against the Aggies 4th ranked rushing defense. Texas A&M in my opinion should have been in the CFP Playoffs over Norte Dame and as I think the Aggies will be able to slow down Sam Howell & Javonte Williams while putting up plenty of points in their own right, I’m taking Texas A&M to cover this spread. Good Luck!