The Texas A&M Aggies posted a school-best four straight bowl victories from 2011-14 before losing their next three appearances. They ended the skid emphatically with a 52-13 triumph over NC State in the 2018 Gator Bowl and edged Oklahoma State 24-21 in the Texas Bowl last year. The fifth-ranked Aggies look to make it three in a row when they take on the No. 13 North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday in the 2021 Orange Bowl. Kickoff from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
Texas A&M (8-1), which concluded its regular season with a seven-game winning streak, will be facing North Carolina for the first time. The Tar Heels (8-3), who watched wideout Dyami Brown and running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams opt out of the Orange Bowl to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, won four of their final five games this campaign -- averaging 56.5 points in the victories. The Aggies are 9.5-point favorites in the latest Texas A&M vs. North Carolina odds from William Hill Sportsbook, up 3.5 points from the opening line, while the over-under for total points scored is 65. Before locking in any North Carolina vs. Texas A&M picks, be sure to check out the college football predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's Emory Hunt.
The founder of Football Gameplan, Hunt played running back at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and coached high-school football before becoming a SportsLine expert and CBS Sports HQ analyst. He enjoyed a dominant 2019 season, going 116-79 against the spread while returning nearly $3,000 to $100 bettors.
Moreover, Hunt has a keen eye for the Tar Heels' tendencies. He's a stunning 13-3 against the spread in his last 16 college football picks for or against North Carolina.
- Texas A&M vs. North Carolina spread: Aggies -9.5
- Texas A&M vs. North Carolina over-under: 65 points
- Texas A&M vs. North Carolina money line: Aggies -340, Tar Heels +270
- TEXAM: The Aggies are 11-2 against the spread in their last 13 non-conference games
- UNC: The Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last five contests following a straight-up win
Why Texas A&M can cover
Isaiah Spiller has recorded six 100-yard performances in 2020 and is on the verge of becoming the 18th player in school history to register 1,000 in a season. The sophomore, who finished 54 yards shy of the plateau last year, is third in the SEC with an average of 109.6 per contest. Senior Kellen Mond became the Aggies' all-time leader in passing yards (9,429) and touchdown tosses (71) this campaign and joined Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott as the only quarterbacks in SEC history to record 9,000 yards passing and 1,500 rushing (1,572).
Mond's favorite target is tight end Jalen Wydermyer, who leads Texas A&M with 45 catches and 502 receiving yards and is tied for first with six touchdown receptions. The sophomore has hauled in two scoring passes in three of his last five contests. Most of the Aggies' scoring this year has been done by their underclassmen, as 30 of their 36 TDs have been recorded by freshmen and sophomores.
Why North Carolina can cover
Sam Howell was a jack of all trades offensively in the Tar Heels' 62-26 rout at then-No. 10 Miami on Dec. 12, and he might need to come up with an even bigger performance on Saturday. The sophomore threw a touchdown pass, ran for a TD and made a one-yard catch for a score as North Carolina posted its first win over a top-10 opponent since edging a fourth-ranked Hurricanes team 31-28 at home on Oct. 30, 2004.
With Carter (1,245 yards) and Williams (1,140) both opting out and fellow running back D.J. Jones (foot) sidelined, North Carolina needs someone to lead the ground attack. The options include freshman Elijah Green, sophomore Josh Henderson and junior British Brooks, who have gained a total of 147 yards on 31 carries this season. Howell is third on the team with 121 rushing yards and five TDs.
How to make Texas A&M vs. North Carolina picks
Hunt is leaning under the total, and he's also found a critical X-factor he believes makes one side of the spread a must-back. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Texas A&M vs. North Carolina in the Orange Bowl? And what crucial X-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over Saturday, all from the Tar Heels expert who is 13-3 in his last 16 spread picks involving North Carolina.