Notre Dame has started a new home winning streak while continuing its streak of 37 straight wins against unranked opponents, the longest in the country. Once upon a time, North Carolina was never expected to arrive in South Bend outside the polls, but here the Tar Heels are, scuffling along in a waste of what should be Sam Howell’s college farewell.
This may be a moment for Howell to find some magic before he heads to the NFL, but it also may be a chance for the Irish to rekindle some Playoff embers.
Here are our free college football picks and predictions for North Carolina at Notre Dame on October 30, with kickoff set for 7:30 ET.
North Carolina vs Notre Dame odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
Some books opened with Notre Dame favored by four points on Sunday, but that quickly dropped to -3.5, where it has remained. The total has been equally as steady, opening and staying at 62.0. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets.
North Carolina vs Notre Dame picks
Picks made on 10/29/2021 at 6:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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North Carolina vs Notre Dame game info
• Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
• Date: Saturday, October 30, 2021
• Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: NBC
North Carolina vs Notre Dame betting preview
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.
North Carolina: Tyrone Hopper LB (Questionable), Kristian Varner DL (Questionable), Caleb Hood RB (Questionable), Storm Duck CB (Out), Ladaeson DeAndre Hollins CB (Out).
Notre Dame: Kyle Hamilton S (Out), Chris Tyree RB (Questionable), Cane Berrong TE (Out), Joe Wilkins WR (Out), Kevin Bauman TE (Out).
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Irish have gone 4-1 ATS in their last five games, while the Under is 4-1 in Notre Dame’s last five home games. Find more NCAA betting trends for North Carolina vs. Notre Dame.
North Carolina vs Notre Dame predictions
Notre Dame -3.5 (-110)
The Irish seemed to uncover a needed offensive rhythm last week when they took an up-tempo approach despite still starting immobile quarterback Jack Coan. For the first time this year, Notre Dame put together back-to-back drives covering 70 yards. Five times against USC, the Irish covered at least 70 yards on a drive.
It was not exactly an offensive explosion but given how well Notre Dame’s defense has played of late, it did not need to be. That defense was missing All-American safety Kyle Hamilton for all but eight plays, and will be missing him again this week, but it still largely kept the Trojans in check.
Coincidentally, Hamilton also missed most of last year’s game against North Carolina when a targeting penalty led to his first half ejection, yet the Irish shut out the Tar Heels in that second half after giving up 17 early points. It may not be the same Notre Dame defense, but it is also certainly not the same North Carolina offense.
Given the Tar Heels’ struggles in big moments these last two years, moments you would think would cater to quarterback Sam Howell’s gunslinger style, there is little reason to back North Carolina here, while the Irish have shown up in this spot before — including just a week ago.
Under 62.0 (-110)
Notre Dame may have found some offensive rhythm but put the emphasis on some. It would need to tally more than 31 points to propel this toward the Over, and the Irish have not yet proven themselves reliably capable of that, fourth quarter defensive touchdowns against Wisconsin notwithstanding.
Howell mistimed his Tar Heels career by one season, with so many of his weapons heading to the NFL last spring and leaving him grasping for straws this year. The supposedly improved North Carolina offensive line has been anything but, leaving Howell constantly scrambling, a habit that has become so second-nature to him that he now sometimes does it when unnecessary and compounds those offensive line struggles.
Notre Dame’s defensive line may be its best unit. Which is to say, Howell will be hounded Saturday night, and unless he does a Graham Mertz impersonation or an Oprah impersonation — “You get an interception! You get an interception! Everyone gets an interception!” — the Under should be a safe decision.
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