- No. 5 Texas A&M is set to bring a full squad to face No. 8 North Carolina in the Orange Bowl on Saturday (ESPN, 8 p.m. EST)
- The Aggies are 7.5 favorites, and many of their top offensive players are worth taking a look at
- Read below for analysis on the game and the best prop to play
By the end of the regular season, Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was making the same public pitch to the College Football Playoff committee that his team should be in one of the final four spots on New Year’s Day.
The Aggies ended up as the first team out, finishing the regular season ranked fifth in both the College Football Playoff Rankings and AP Top 25 Poll. A&M’s consolation prize was a trip to Miami to play a North Carolina side left without many of its star players in the Orange Bowl on Saturday. The Aggies are 7.5-point favorites, and with many of UNC’s top players on both sides of the ball opting out or banged-up, there are players worth considering for prop bets for A&M.
Orange Bowl QB Player Props
|Quarterack||Total Passing Yards||Total Passing Completions||Total Passing Touchdowns|
|Kellen Mond||245.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)||17.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)||2.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)|
|Sam Howell||240.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)||16.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)||1.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)|
All Odds taken from FanDuel on Jan. 2nd
Potentially Underwhelming Quarterback Battle
North Carolina has built up a strong offensive reputation with quarterback Sam Howell, while Kellen Mond has been a good QB for A&M, but not typically a world-beater.
The Kellen Mond Experience
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 5, 2020
Between the two, Howell has been in better form, and has completed 73-percent of his passes over his last four games for 1294 yards and 11 touchdowns. The problem is that his best wide receiver, Dyami Brown, has decided to pass on this game to focus on his prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft. Dazz Newsome is expected to be his top target, and has been steady following a breakout game against Wake Forest, where he had 10 receptions for 189 yards and two scores.
In four of his last six games, Mond has thrown for fewer than 225 yards. However, during that stretch, he’s thrown 12 touchdown passes, highlighted by the four he threw against South Carolina on November 7. In his last three games, he’s only thrown three, two of which came against Auburn on December 5.
Curious that Mond has the higher total than Howell to clear, but UNC’s offense will have a tougher time against A&M’s defense than the other way around.
Isaiah Spiller Orange Bowl Prop Bets
|Player||Total Rushing Yards||Total Rushing + Receiving Yards|
|Isaiah Spiller||119.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)||141.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)|
Spiller set to Clean Up
With so many of Sam Howell’s regular supporting cast not available, A&M should easily win the battle for time of possession, and plenty of opportunity to get its offensive players reps. The two most obvious candidates that figure to benefit are running backs Isaiah Spiller and Ainias Smith.
[email protected]_spiller had him SHOOK 😯 pic.twitter.com/In1oPn6Jju
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 2, 2020
North Carolina’s opponents ran the ball on offense at a slightly higher clip at the end of the season against the Tar Heels, and UNC will be without its best defensive player, Chazz Surratt. Surratt led the team in total tackles, was tied for the team lead in sacks, and was second in tackles for loss. North Carolina held Miami to just 75 yards rushing in the ACC Championship Game, but gave up 137 the previous week to Western Carolina, and had given up an average of 187 in its three preceding games.
Spiller has received 20 or more carries in four of his last five outings, and ran for 120 yards-or-more in three of those games. Ainias Smith has been a useful player on offense for the Aggies all year, and finished the regular season with eight carries for 70 yards against Tennessee, but he’s a smallish player that doesn’t get carries fed to him like Spiller.
Orange Bowl Receiver Prop Bets
|Player||Total Receptions||Total Receiving Yards|
|Dazz Newsome||5.5 (Ov -128 / Un -102)||67.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)|
|Jalen Wydermyer||4.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)||52.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)|
|Isaiah Spiller||1.5 (Ov -142 / Un +110)||18.5 (Ov -113 / Un -113)|
Remaining Receiving Options
Perhaps the most reliable receiving option in the game is A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer, who led the team in receiving this season with 45 catches for 502 yards and six touchdowns. In his last two games, he’s had 13 catches for 160 yards, and as the most trusted target for Mond at this point, his total of 57.5 yards appears to be a good bet as well.
A&M has plenty of potential with the young talent in its wide receiver corp, but Fisher hasn’t created a lot of opportunity for that talent to present itself. With an eye towards next season, it’s possible he tries to set up highly-touted recruit Demond Demas or up-and-comer Jalen Preston with some targets. Miami tight end Brevin Jordan torched UNC in the ACC Championship, with six catches for 140 yards.
The Pick: Isaiah Spiller – Total Rushing Yards over 119.5 (-113)