Duke's Mayo Bowl 2021: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for UNC vs. South Carolina

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 29, 2021

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) runs the ball during an NCAA college football game against North Carolina State Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Chris Seward/Associated Press

The North Carolina Tar Heels and South Carolina Gamecocks took very different paths to 6-6 records and berths in the Duke's Mayo Bowl.

North Carolina came into the 2021 college football season with a ton of expectations, but it quickly faded off the national radar. Mack Brown's team was never more than one game over .500.

South Carolina sprung upsets over the Auburn Tigers and Florida Gators to get itself to bowl eligibility in Shane Beamer's first season as head coach. 

The Gamecocks gained some momentum for the 2022 season by obtaining the commitment of Spencer Rattler in the transfer portal from the Oklahoma Sooners. 

Before Rattler dons the garnet and black, the SEC program has to make up a disadvantage at quarterback on Thursday in Charlotte. 

UNC quarterback Sam Howell chose to remain with his teammates for the bowl game instead of opting out, and that should provide the Tar Heels with a large enough edge to beat its regional rival and potentially put up the highest point total across Thursday's four-game slate. 


Duke's Mayo Bowl Info

Date: Thursday, December 30

Start Time: 11:30 a.m. ET 


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app


Game Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: North Carolina (-9.5) 

Over/Under: 57.5

Money Line: North Carolina (-335; bet $335 to win $100); South Carolina (+260; bet $100 to win $260) 


Daily Fantasy Tips

Go With Sam Howell

Sam Howell had a disappointing season by the preseason standards set for North Carolina.

The UNC signal-caller only had 2,851 passing yards and 23 touchdowns, both of which were lower totals from 2020. 

Howell lost a handful of key weapons that departed for the NFL, like Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, and he was unable to deliver the same style of dominant outings that he had with them in the fold. 

The junior quarterback has a chance to end his season on a high note against a South Carolina defense that struggled against some of the best teams on its schedule.

The Gamecocks gave up 30 points to the Clemson Tigers in their last regular-season contest. They were also gashed for 40 or more points by the Georgia Bulldogs, Tennessee Volunteers and Texas A&M Aggies. 

Howell should have ample opportunities to carve up the South Carolina defense in a similar fashion, which makes him one of the top daily fantasy football quarterbacks on Thursday's four-game slate. 

Howell should combine with 1,200-yard wide receiver Josh Downs on plenty of pass attempts. Downs is an ideal partner for Howell in a UNC lineup stack. 

Downs leads the Tar Heels with 98 receptions, and no other player on the UNC roster has more than 30 catches. 

Antoine Green and Emery Simmons could be decent additions to a lineup stack alongside Howell, but Downs is the most reliable wideout to pair with Howell.


Be Wary of South Carolina's Offense

The South Carolina offense has been inconsistent at best this season. 

The Gamecocks used three different quarterbacks, and none of them recorded more than 1,000 yards. 

Zeb Noland, who started the season as a graduate assistant, will lead the offense in the Duke's Mayo Bowl. 

Noland had 96 yards on 22 pass attempts in the loss to Clemson one month ago. He did had fewer than 125 passing yards in all but one of his appearances. 

South Carolina could turn to the rushing attack to take advantage of UNC's defense, but it does not have a player with more than 600 rushing yards on the season. 

North Carolina has a leaky defense that gives up 31.6 points and 408.1 yards per game, but it is going up against a Gamecocks offense that averages 21.3 points per contest. 

The inconsistencies within the South Carolina offense make the SEC East side hard to trust in roster spots for daily fantasy football contests.    


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