North Carolina vs. Cal Total Prediction
The North Carolina Tar Heels and California Golden Bears open their season on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. ET. Is the current 60-point betting total set too high by oddsmakers?
4:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, September 1, 2018
California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Golden Bears are 7.5-point favorites to beat the Tar Heels. The total, meanwhile, sits at 60 points. As of this writing, 62% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Golden Bears.
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina HC Larry Fedora hinted that sophomore RB Michael Carter will likely miss Saturday's opener against Cal due to an undisclosed injury concern. The Tar Heels are typically reticent to release concrete injury information for players who are not being ruled out for the campaign, hence why Fedora isn't giving us much, here. We can fill in some of the backstory, though, as 247Sports' Greg Barnes reported in mid-August that the 5-foot-9, 195-pound Carter had sustained a broken wrist in scrimmage. He passed along a 4-6 week timetable for recovery off of that injury, which would put his potential return at mid-to-late September or early October. We expect to see Jordon Brown and OSU transfer Antonio Williams receive the bulk of carries while Carter rehabs.
California Golden Bears
Cal redshirt junior QB Ross Bowers listed as starter against North Carolina on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore Brandon McIlwain and redshirt freshman Chase Garbers are listed as co-backups. This is as expected. Bowers (6'2/200) threw for 3,039 passing yards in his first season with OC Beau Baldwin, who routinely led Eastern Washington to being among the highest scoring offenses in the FCS. With another offseason to work with Baldwin, Bowers and the Cal offense could take a step forward in 2018. Cal opens the season against a depleted UNC team at home.
The over is 5-1 in the Tar Heels’ last six games versus Pac-12 opponents.
The over is 34-16-1 in the Golden Bears’ last 51 non-conference games.
The North Carolina defense was banged up a year ago and could struggle against the run against his season. That said, defensive end Malik Carney and cornerback K.J. Sails are playmakers and factor into the under, as does a talented linebacker corps for Cal setting up the rest a Golden Bears defense that could be one of the best in years. I see this game falling under the total.
College Football Prediction: North Carolina/Cal under 60