Orange Bowl Predictions: Texas A&M vs North Carolina Pick
Orange Bowl Predictions: Texas A&M vs North Carolina Pick: Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M come into Saturday night’s Orange Bowl riding a 16-9 ATS record as the betting favorite, going back to when Fisher was hired in 2018. Under Fisher, the Aggies are 8-2 ATS in non-conference games, but are just 1-3 ATS on neutral turf since 2018. The #5 Aggies will take on the high powered offense of the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night, in the last bowl game of the season.
|Orange Bowl||TexasA&M||North Carolina|
|Opening ATS Line||-6 (-110)||+6 (-110)|
|Total||Over 65.5 (-110)||Under 65.5 (-110)|
|Where/When||Hard Rock Stadium||Sat, Jan 2nd, 8:00 PM ET|
UNC head coach Mack Brown is 14-8 as a college football head coach in bowl games. Under Brown, the Tar Heels have gone 13-11 ATS since he became head coach back in 2019, covering the spread by an average of 4.9 points per game.
Jimbo Fisher has gone 7-2 in Bowl Games, between his time with Florida State and Texas A&M. The Aggies as a program have historically had success as the betting favorite, even beyond the Fisher era, going 20-9-1 ATS in their last 30 games as the school getting chalk.
Match-Up and Trends
North Carolina went 1-1 ATS as an underdog in 2020, with one outright upset win over Miami, winning 62-26 as a +125 moneyline underdog in early December. The Tar Heels did lose 2 out of 3 games to heavy underdogs back in October, losing to Virginia 44-41 who were a +240 underdog, and to Florida State 32-28, who were a +360 underdog.
Measure of Expectation
|Team||ML Profit||ML Fade||Avg. Margin||Avg. ATS Margin|
UNC’s high-powered offense has gotten them out of a lot of trouble this season, but they may have gone to the well one too many times. Based on the measure of expectation, Texas A&M has done better against the number, and while they don’t have as high of a margin of victory as North Carolina, they have covered the spread by a higher average over less games played.
Texas A&M vs North Carolina Pick:
UNC running backs Javonte Williams and Michael Carter have opted out of this game, so has WR Dyami Brown. That leaves a giant hole in this Tar Heels offense, which has averaged the 4th best offensive numbers this season, putting up 556.6 yards per game in 2020. The offensive firepower for UNC may not exactly be at the level it was during the regular season, especially with three of their key offensive pieces out of the line-up.
This game opened with the Aggies as -6 point favorites but has since moved to -8.5, with the market potentially reacting to the news of the Tar Heels’ injuries. On principle alone, it is very hard to move with the steam in a bowl game between two high-level teams. The was probably value on Texas A&M -6, or even at -6.5, but once you get past the key number of -7 or higher, you start to leave the door open for a back door cover.
Texas A&M probably wins this game, but covering the spread may be a tougher task. You can combine the Aggies with Iowa State in a moneyline parlay on Bet365 at odds of -117, which sets you up for a nice chance to hedge of middle should the Cyclones win.
As for the total, this one opened at 69 but has since been bet down to 65. The market may be expecting the offense to slow down, as UNC is missing a few key pieces to their offense. However, as we have seen in previous bowl games this year, the market has had a tendency to overreact towards the Under, which may be why the Over has hit at a 61% rate in bowl games this season. Never the less, if both teams were healthy, 69 points seems like a fair total, but considering this is a bowl game, that could turn into a shootout down the stretch, the market may once again be overreacting a little too much, where the value in this game sits on the side of the Over.