North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Missouri Tigers Gambling Odds from JustBet
NCAA FB Betting Favorite: Missouri -5
If you subscribe to the theory that the bowl season truly begins after Christmas, then the Independence Bowl will kick off the bowl season. These two teams finished in the middle of the pack in quality conferences this year. North Carolina comes in as losers of four of their last six games. Missouri finished the season with three straight victories. Both teams have had some coaching drama at the end of the season. Which team will show up motivated and ready to go in this one?
Larry Fedora was announced as the new coach at North Carolina shortly after the regular season ended, but interim coach Everitt Withers will still be on the sidelines for this game. Can the team help Withers finish his time at the top of the program with a win? Bryn Renner has shown flashes of brilliance in his first year under center for the Tar Heels. Renner threw for 2,769 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2011. Unfortunately, he also threw 12 interceptions. He needs to improve his decision making, but Renner clearly has all the tools necessary to be a star. Giovani Bernard is a versatile back who creates matchup problems for the defense. The Tar Heels average 28 points per contest.
North Carolina’s defense has been a mixed bag this year. The front seven has been great against the run, but the secondary has struggled in a big way against the pass. The secondary takes quite a few chances, and they have let receivers behind them far too many times this year. The front seven needs to help by pressuring the quarterback quicker to take some heat off the secondary.
Missouri lost a great quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, but James Frankin has stepped in and done a nice job for the Tigers. Franklin is a dual-threat quarterback who likes to run first, but he is improving as a passer. Franklin finished the regular season with 20 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns. Henry Josey had a spectacular season in the backfield. Josey averaged an amazing 8.1 yards per carry this year. Josey and Kendial Lawrence split the carries in the backfield for Missouri. T.J. Moe’s numbers are down from last year, but he is still the team’s top target on the outside. The Tigers are averaging 32 points per game.
The Missouri defense has given up a lot of yards this year, but they have done a nice job keeping the opponent out of the end zone. Despite giving up 382 yards of offense per game this year, the Tigers have allowed just 23.5 points per game. The team certainly misses Aldon Smith, but pass rushing is still one of the team’s biggest strengths. The secondary isn’t very good in coverage, but they do tackle well.
The under is 9-3 in Missouri’s last 12 non-conference games. The under is 5-1 in North Carolina’s last 6 non-conference games.
Free College Football Pick: Under 52.5
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