Saturday, October 31, 2020, Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Virginia, 8 p.m. ET
Tar Heels at Cavaliers Betting Preview: Tar Heels (-6.5), Cavaliers (+6.5)
North Carolina Tar Heels
Quarterback Sam Howell had impressive numbers as a freshman last year against Virginia, passing for 353 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, but North Carolina still lost 38-31.
The No. 15 Tar Heels (4-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will be looking to reverse that outcome at Charlottesville when they take on the slumping Cavaliers.
Thanks to Howell (280.6 yards per game passing) the Heels have thrown for an average of 282.2 yards a game this season and will up against a Virginia defense that has been hit for 286 yards a game by opposing passers.
The Tar Heels rebounded from a 31-28 loss at Florida State with a 48-21 pounding of rival North Carolina State last week with Howell passing for 252 yards and running back Javonte Williams rushing for 160 and three touchdowns.
Michael Carter also posted his second triple-digit rushing game with 106 yards on just 17 carries against the Wolfpack. For the season Carter has rushed for 584 yards and three touchdowns, Williams for 562 yards and 10 scores.
Wide receiver Beau Corrales is expected to miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury. He has 13 receptions for 238 yards and a touchdown in four games.
Defensively, Chazz Surratt and Tomari Fox have combined for seven sacks.
The Cavaliers (1-4, 1-4 ACC) have on a four-game losing streak but welcomed back quarterback Brennan Armstrong to the lineup at Miami last week. Armstrong missed the 40-23 loss to Wake Forest but passed for 181 yards and rushed for 91 in the 19-14 loss to the Hurricanes.
Tight end Tony Poljan, a grad transfer from Central Michigan, caught a touchdown pass for the third time in his last four games.
“We’re a different team with Brennan,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “The throws he can make, how tough he is when he scrambles, and just his leadership style. … He makes a difference for us, even though it hasn’t showed on the outcome yet.”
The Cavaliers still may be shorthanded against the Tar Heels.
Mendenhall did not provide injury updates for starting safeties Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson, who both missed the Miami game along with freshman receiver Lavel Davis Jr. (undisclosed reasons). Cornerback Darrius Bratton and starting right tackle Ryan Swoboda left last Saturday’s game due to injuries.
The Cavaliers defense faces a tough challenge slowing North Carolina’s offense. The Tar Heels lead the ACC in total offense (531.2 yards per game) and rank second in scoring (37.8 per game). The Cavaliers have given up an average of 31.6 points and 419.6 yards a game.
Tar Heels at Cavaliers Betting Pick for October 31, 2020
The Tar Heels have won five consecutive meetings and eight of the last 10 games against the Cavaliers. Williams rushed for 98 yards for the Tar Heels in last year’s loss to the Cavaliers and has rushed for 448 yards his last three games while Carter has rushed for 506 his last four. Virginia linebacker Nick Jackson leads the ACC in tackles with an average of 10.6 per game.
Tar Heels at Cavaliers Betting Pick:
Tar Heels 45, Cavaliers 24
Tar Heels at Cavaliers Best Bet for October 31, 2020
Virginia had a nice defensive effort in holding Miami down in the 19-14 loss to the Hurricanes last week, but the Tar Heels have gotten their offense back in gear over their last six quarters. Howell passed for 353 yards and four touchdowns against the Cavaliers in last year’s meeting.
Tar Heels at Cavaliers Best Bet: OVER 61.5