North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Tennessee Volunteers: Music City Bowl Preview and Pick



North Carolina Tar Heels
(7-5, 6-6 ATS)

Tennessee Volunteers
(6-6, 7-5 ATS)

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Though the argument could be made that both the Tennessee Volunteers and the North Carolina Tar Heels underachieved on the season, they both really had to work hard just to make it to the Music City Bowl, where they will meet in NCAA football betting action on December 30th.

The Tar Heels faced a ton of suspensions this year, particularly on the defensive side of the field. Still, this was a team that did well on ‘D’, allowing just 335.0 yards per game and 22.9 points per game. Only two teams have scored more than 30 points against this defense all season long, and both came on the road against the ACC teams from the Sunshine State. North Carolina excelled on offense, relatively speaking. Averaging 395.8 yards per game was a triumph for a team that wasn’t expected to do much here, but QB TJ Yates really picked up the slack for the fact that his defense was in a lot of trouble all season long. The much maligned signal caller in Chapel Hill threw for 3,184 yards and 18 TDs this year, and though those aren’t absolutely stunning numbers, it was more than enough to get the fans on Tobacco Road back on his side. He also only threw eight picks, which was easily the best such mark in his career. WR Dwight Jones was the only target this year that caught more than 30 passes on the year, as he had 57 catches for 895 yards and four scores. On the ground, RB Johnny White had 720 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry this year.

The Volunteers needed to win four straight games to end the season just to make it to a bowl game, and Head Coach Derek Dooley got the job done. We know that games against the Memphis Tigers, Mississippi Rebels, Vanderbilt Commodores, and Kentucky Wildcats aren’t all that impressive, but wins are wins, and the Vols were absolutely deserving of a spot in a bowl game, especially after some very close losses this year. In the final four games of the regular season, QB Tyler Bray really shined brightly. He threw for at least 320 yards in three of the four games and had a total of 12 TDs against four picks in those outings, including a five TD game against the Tigers. RB Tauren Poole rushed for 994 yards this year, and he had 11 trips to the end zone. WR Denarius Moore was the top target for the Volunteers on the year, catching 43 passes for 912 yards and nine scores and averaging 21.2 yards per catch. The defense was iffy for most of the year, allowing at least 31 points in five times this year, all against teams that are going to a bowl game.

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We just love the way that Dooley has his men playing this year, and there is no reason to believe that he won’t get the job done in this one. The Tar Heels should put up a great fight, but we love getting any points we can get with UT in a de facto home game. The men from Rocky Top should win in Music City Bowl betting action on the 30th.

Music City Bowl Free Pick: Tennessee Volunteers +1.5

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