Western Carolina at No. 17 North Carolina Betting Preview

Saturday, December 5, 2020, Kenan Stadium, Clemson, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, noon ET

Catamounts at Tar Heels Betting Preview: Catamounts (+48.5), Tar Heels (-48.5)

Western Carolina Catamounts Betting Preview

Western Carolina (0-2) began its abbreviated fall schedule Nov. 14, and this will be its last 2020 game. The Catamounts compete on the Football Championship Subdivision level and are expected to play a Southern Conference season beginning in February.

“I think we have a chance to be a pretty good football team,” Western Carolina coach Mark Speir said. “We have to control our technique and our consistency.”

Western Carolina is coming off a 49-17 loss to Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 21 — a game that Speir missed because of a positive coronavirus test. Its other game was a blowout setback to ranked Liberty.

It is a big task for the Catamounts.

“The biggest thing for us is preaching the ball security,” Speir said. “… The consistency of doing your job. Don’t try to be Superman.”

These teams weren’t slated to meet this year, but North Carolina’s lone non-league game in a revised schedule was set to be against Charlotte in September. That was called off because of Charlotte’s coronavirus issues.

When Western Carolina was added to the schedule, it was listed for Dec. 11. It was moved up six days when the ACC shifted numerous games to new dates in the past few weeks.

UNC Tar Heels Betting Preview

After a couple of close games with mixed results, North Carolina is a heavy favorite against the Catamounts.

Still, the No. 17 Tar Heels (6-3) have to put aside their disappointment of last week’s loss to Notre Dame..

The 31-17 loss to Notre Dame extinguished the possibility that the Tar Heels could reach the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. Now there are two regular-season games remaining with a game at Miami to follow this one.

“We have to go back and get our offense on track, and put all three phases together,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said. “We have not played our best game. But this shows where we’re headed and what we can do.”

It also will be Senior Day for the Tar Heels, though it’s uncertain how many of these players might choose to stay for the 2021 season. Playing this season won’t cost them a year of NCAA eligibility.

“We sat down at (the) open date with all of our seniors and juniors that could possibly go to the NFL and we tried to give them as much information as we could,” Brown said. “If you’re coming back, here’s how much we think you would play right now.

“If you want to graduate and go into the business world, we’ll help you get a job. … With the seniors that could come back with the NCAA rule this year, we just asked them, ‘Any of you that want to come back, we’d love to have you.'”

The Tar Heels still have things to fix after nine penalties cost them 90 yards in the Notre Dame game.

“We talk about penalties each week,” Brown said. “It’s something that we’ve got to improve.”

North Carolina showed considerable improvement defensively against Notre Dame, which scored the game’s final 17 points. Prior to that, the Tar Heels needed a huge rally to upend Wake Forest 59-53.

Catamounts at Tar Heels Betting Pick for December 5, 2020

The Tar Heels have won the only two games in the series, winning 49-26 in 2018 and 65-10 in 2017. Javonte Williams rushed for 93 yards and three touchdowns for North Carolina, and Donnavan Spencer had three receptions for 106 yards (64 coming on one reception) for Western Carolina in the 2018 meeting.

Catamounts at Tar Heels Betting Pick:

Tar Heels 56, Catamounts 7

Catamounts at Tar Heels Best Bet for December 5, 2020

The Catamounts have given up 107 points in losses to Liberty and Eastern Kentucky in the two games scheduled for their fall season. The Tar Heels have scored in the 50s in three games and been in the 40s two other times but are coming off a season low in a 31-17 loss to Notre Dame.

Catamounts at Tar Heels Best Bet: UNDER 69.5

–Field Level Media