The Virginia Cavaliers and North Carolina Tar Heels meet in what could develop into one of the more entertaining games of the weekend on the college gridiron. This game is known as The South’s Oldest Rivalry. It’s not the most popular of the college rivalries, but a game that means a lot between these two schools.
Virginia is going into Chapel Hill off a 42-14 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini in an impressive performance. This followed a 43-0 blowout of William & Mary in the opening game for the 2021 season on September 4. While Illinois isn’t top-notch competition, the blowout over William & Mary didn’t prove much.
Their win over Illinois showed that they’re capable of running up the score against decent opponents. Decent might be generous with Illinois, but they’re still a Big Ten team that plays against good competition. Dispatching William & Mary by 43 points isn’t going to move the meter much, but a 43-0 win versus a Big Ten team does something.
— Virginia Cavaliers (@VirginiaSports) September 14, 2021
The most impressive aspect of their season so far has been the effort of quarterback Brennan Armstrong. Virginia hasn’t really had a noteworthy quarterback in a while, with Armstrong potentially developing into a signal caller that the Cavaliers can tout. In his first season as a starting quarterback, Armstrong passed for 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 58.6% completions.
Armstrong has looked much better and in control of the offense. He looks a whole lot more confident, and has racked up 7 touchdowns and 1 interception on 71.6% completions. The Tar Heels haven’t faced a quarterback like Armstrong this season. Virginia Tech’s Braxton Burmeister wasn’t scaring anybody, and then they had Georgia State last week.
— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) September 14, 2021
North Carolina responded following their loss against the Hokies with a 59-17 beatdown of the Panthers. Sam Howell got on track with 352 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 of 29 passing. Despite his poor start in Week 1, Howell can still be a Heisman contender if he is close to perfect the rest of the year and UNC wins the ACC. Head below for our free Virginia vs. North Carolina pick on September 18, 2021.
Virginia Cavaliers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Live Odds and Betting History:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Virginia||+7.5 (-104)||+240||Over 66.5 (-110)|
|UNC||-7.5 (-116)||-285||Under 66.5 (-110)|
|Points Per Game||42.5||34.5|
|Points Against Per Game||7||17|
|Passing Yards Per Game||381||307|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||169.5||173.5|
Virginia vs. North Carolina Prediction:
Both defenses have held up well going into Week 3. However, let’s keep in mind neither unit has been up against an above average offense. Out of the teams these two have played so far, Virginia Tech is the best offense of the four teams. Virginia Tech is a defensive team that depends on ball control and allowing their defense to win games.
I think we’re going to see different in this one with Brennan Armstrong and Sam Howell getting into a potential duel. Howell was frustrated by Virginia Tech in a tough environment on the road in Blacksburg, but he was able to find a rhythm in a tune-up game against Georgia State last week. Georgia State isn’t the best barometer, but it should at least give him confidence and a better rapport going into this week.
When the Tar Heels’ offense is clicking, they can in bunches. Along with Howell passing the ball, he was a runner against Georgia State with 104 yards and 2 touchdowns on 9.5 yards per carry. In their meeting last year against Virginia, Howell was excellent with 443 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. He didn’t cough the ball up once in a 44-41 loss on the road. Dyami Brown ran for a mile with 240 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Brown is in the NFL now, but Ty Chandler is a decent option in the backfield for the Tar Heels. In the Cavaliers first real offensive test of the 2021 campaign, expect Howell and North Carolina to move the ball on the Cavaliers at home. They’re going to need a gunslinger to keep up, and I believe that Virginia has their guy in Armstrong.
Virginia Cavaliers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Betting Trends:
- 7-1 ATS in their previous eight games
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games versus North Carolina
- 4-1 overall in their previous five games versus North Carolina
- 0-7 overall in their previous seven games on the road
- 4-1 ATS in their previous five games versus the ACC
- 6-1 overall in their previous seven games in September
- OVER is 13-5 in their previous 18 games
- 2-5 ATS in their previous seven games
- 8-1 overall in their previous eight games at North Carolina
- OVER is 7-3 in their previous ten games
- OVER is 5-2 in their previous seven games versus the ACC
Armstrong has come out swinging this season. After holding things back last season in his first year as the starter, he’s taken off the training wheels and looks much more confident. In a game where I see the Cavaliers have to keep pace with Howell, who found his mojo last week, I have confidence in Armstrong doing his part.
He passed for 208 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interceptions on 12 of 22 passing last year. Armstrong also ran for 66 yards and a touchdown. That’s the other aspect of his game that North Carolina can’t sleep on. Both of these quarterbacks have deceptive speed that can tuck the ball and run for a 1st down.
This game is the first test for both defenses. Neither defense has seen a quarterback that can sling the ball around and run. It’s hard to see this one being as high-scoring as last year, a 44-41 win for the Cavaliers at home, but there should still be plenty of chances for points to go up on the board. In a 41-30 or 38-33 game, I like this one to get OVER the total in Chapel Hill.