Orange Bowl Betting Preview – North Carolina vs. Texas A&M
The last New Year’s Six Bowl will feature the North Carolina Tar Heels squaring off against the Texas A&M Aggies. North Carolina’s presence speaks to the strength of the ACC this year as both Notre Dame and Clemson are in the College Football Playoff. However, the Tar Heels are sizable underdogs against the Aggies in the last bowl game prior to the CFP National Championship Game.
The Orange Bowl will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida on Saturday, January 2, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
College Football Betting Odds
North Carolina +7.5
Texas A&M -7.5
This will be the first meeting between these two programs. Mack Brown is familiar with Texas A&M from his time at Texas though. Brown is 10-4 against the Aggies during his coaching career, while Jimbo Fisher failed to beat North Carolina while he was at Florida State.
North Carolina Offense vs. Texas A&M Defense
Sam Howell has been one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the country. He isn’t getting the same publicity as some signal callers, but Howell has a bright future at the next level. The true sophomore was fantastic as a freshman and completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,352 yards (10.6 YPA) with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions this season.
British Brooks and Josh Henderson will be the running backs for North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. Brooks and Henderson combined to run the ball 21 times for 92 yards in the regular season, but the Tar Heels are dealing with some opt-outs and an injury at the position. Dual thousand-yard rushers Michael Carter and Javonte Williams both decided to declare for the NFL Draft, and D.J. Jones is dealing with an injury.
No. 1 receiver Dyami Brown decided to sit out the bowl game too. Brown had over 1,000 receiving yards this season, averaging 20.0 YPR as a major big play threat. Dazz Newsome will be the top option in his stead, and he had 48 receptions for 616 yards and five touchdowns this year.
Mike Elko is one of the best defensive coordinators in the country. Elko has made the Aggies into one of the top defenses in the nation, and that led to Texas A&M nearly making the CFP. Texas A&M allowed 21.1 PPG and 316.6 YPG this season, but defensive backs Myles Jones and Devin Morris are both questionable due to injury.
Texas A&M Offense vs. North Carolina Defense
This will be Kellen Mond’s last game under center for the Aggies. Mond will try to become the next Jimbo Fisher quarterback to make it to the next level in April. He hasn’t been spectacular during his time in College Station, but he has been solid. Mond is completing 63.5 percent of his passes for 2,050 yards (7.6 YPA) with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions this season. He is also a decent runner with 258 yards for 4.1 YPC.
Isaiah Spiller is Texas A&M’s top running back. Spiller has 986 yards (5.6 YPC) with seven touchdowns this season. The Aggies also have a versatile option in Ainas Smith who has run for 293 yards (6.0 YPC) and four touchdowns, and he has 37 receptions for 439 yards and six touchdowns.
The second best tight end in the country is Jalen Wydermyer. He leads Texas A&M in receiving this season with 45 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns. Wydermyer has been a safe option for Mond during his time in College Station, as Chase Lane is the only wide receiver with more than 20 receptions or 200 yards.
North Carolina’s defense has had some issues in 2020. The Tar Heels are allowing 30.3 PPG and 410.1 YPG, and they won’t have standout linebacker Chazz Surratt available this week as he has decided to prepare for the NFL Draft. The secondary is going to be missing a few players too, so Mond could post nice numbers in his final collegiate game.
At these odds, the best value lies in North Carolina. Fisher runs one of the slowest offenses in the country, so a blowout is unlikely.