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Louisville

vs.

North Carolina

College Football Pick

9/9/17

Things didn’t go exactly to plan for either of these teams in the opener with neither covering. Louisville couldn’t separate from a mediocre Purdue squad, while North Carolina lost at home to California, a team no one expects to compete in the Pac-12. And so, with Lamar Jackson, the Cardinals are a -10 point favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook, even on the road.

Louisville lost a lot of talent from last year’s squad and most assumed that Jackson would be enough to offset those losses. But after 46 pass attempts and 21 rushes, Jackson may have to be used a little too much this season. Sure, he passed for 378 yards and ran for 107 more, but starting running backs Reggie Bonnafon and Jeremy Smith totaled 11 carries for 41 yards. Asking Jackson to be the entire ground game may not work for Louisville this season, especially if they can’t pull away from Purdue, which tossed three interceptions and ran for just 51 yards on 2.4 yards per carry.

However, the one-man show should work for at least one more week as the Tar Heels aren’t the same team as a year ago. The defense couldn’t do many things correct outside of a couple interceptions against Cal. They allowed 363 passing yards to go with 106 on the ground. It wouldn’t be surprising if Jackson matched those totals himself again unless UNC’s defense gets better overnight.

The problem for North Carolina this year appears to be at quarterback where Mitchell Trubisky leaves a large hole. LSU transfer Brandon Harris was miserable against the Golden Bears, completing 7-of-16 passes for 60 yards and two picks. He was eventually benched for Chazz Surratt, who did a little more (161 passing yards, 66 rushing yards), yet still wasn’t enough to beat a bad defense. It wouldn't be surprising if Surratt started this game, but he still lost the battle in the spring. If he’s the answer, then Tar Heel fans have plenty to worry about. The Heels will try and use their ground game as much as possible after going for 219 yards against Cal, but the problem is that Louisville’s front line is probably the best aspect of its defense.

For anyone backing North Carolina, they’ll have to hope that Surratt or Harris picks it up at quarterback because even playing at home isn’t going to help, as seen last game. This line may even get pushed up due to Jackson easily being the best player in this game. But for the Louisville backers, they’ll be tempted to look at how the team struggled overall in the win against Purdue.

Neither of these teams instilled much confidence in opening games and with the ACC schedule starting this week, they’ll have to turn things around quick. Otherwise, a loss would mean a long season ahead for whichever can’t get the win here.

Our Pick - More often than not, teams are neither as good or as bad as they looked the week before. In  fact, we can often find value when backing teams that looked like a pop warner team the week prior.

It's also been said that college football teams improve the most between weeks 1 and 2.

We're hoping all of the above proves true this week.

Had this game been played a year ago, our model would have had the game anywhere from a toss up to North Carolina winning straight up. So, you have to ask yourself if North Carolina could have possibly have fallen that far to warrant them being a 10 point dog at home in a conference game. North Cafrolina +10

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