North Carolina at Virginia: What bettors need to know
North Carolina Tar Heels at Virginia Cavaliers (+3, 62)
NCAA penalties excluded North Carolina from postseason play before the year started. The Tar Heels can also guarantee Virginia stays home during bowl season if they defeat the host Cavaliers on Thursday in the 117th meeting. Virginia entered November needing to win out to finish 6-6 and earn postseason eligibility. A 41-40 comeback victory over Miami last week brought the Cavaliers halfway to that goal. Meanwhile, North Carolina lost a 68-50 shootout to Georgia Tech - the highest-scoring game in ACC history. TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE:
North Carolina opened as high as -4 and have been bet down to -3. The total opened at 61 and is high as 61.5.WEATHER:
The forecast is calling for cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 40s. Winds are not expected to be a factor.ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (6-4, 3-3 ACC, 5-5 ATS):
The Tar Heels allowed their highest point total in a home game and allowed 588 yards of offense in a performance against Georgia Tech that left coach Larry Fedora without answers. Running back Giovani Bernard became the first North Carolina player in 20 years to run for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. Natrone Means accomplished that feat in 1991 and 1992. Bernard leads the ACC in rushing (143.6 yards per game) and ranks eighth nationally. ABOUT VIRGINIA (4-6, 2-4, 1-8-1 ATS):
The Cavaliers finally have figured out their quarterback rotation. Michael Rocco made his first start since September and played brilliantly against Miami, throwing for 300 yards and four touchdowns to earn ACC Offensive Back of the Week honors. At one point, Rocco completed 18 straight passes - a school record - and marshaled the Cavaliers on a game-winning drive capped by a touchdown to Jake McGee with six seconds to go. Phillip Sims added 88 passing yards and ran for a score in relief. TRENDS:
* Under is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings.
* Tar Heels are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 meetings.
* Tar Heels are 1-7 ATS in their last eight meetings in Virginia.EXTRA POINTS:
1. North Carolina has won the past two meetings after Virginia had won four straight.
2. Virginia senior DE Bill Schautz played against Miami after missing the previous five games with a hamstring injury.
3. North Carolina G Jonathan Cooper has made 45 career starts, the most of any active offensive lineman in the ACC.