The Cincinnati Bearcats won the Belk Bowl last year and return as underdogs here against the North Carolina Tar Heels for the 2013 edition.
The total has gone OVER in five of Cincinnati's last seven games overall and in three of North Carolina's last four. The total has also gone OVER in four out of UNC's last five bowl games, according to the Belk Bowl betting odds history. And with two top-25 passing attacks on display, this game could end up being a shootout as well. Cincinnati finished with 313.8 yards per game, 15th best in the FBS this year, while UNC's passing attack finished 23rd in the nation with 286.3 passing yards per game.
North Carolina's season was doomed by a slow start as the team went a disappointing 1-5 (2-4 ATS) over its first six games. But over the last six games of the season, North Carolina (ACC, 6-6 SU, 7-5 ATS, 4-8 OU) turned things around with a 5-1 run that included road wins over NC State and Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati (AAC, 9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS, 7-5 OU) is 5-2 SU in its last seven bowl games and 2-0 SU and ATS over their last two, including a 48-34 win in last year's game against Duke. Considering the fact that the Bearcats finished the year in the top 20 nationally in both total yards on offense with 482.3 per game and total yards allowed on defense with just 313.2 per game, the season could have actually gone a lot better than the records would indicate.
Disappointing road losses to Illinois and South Florida prevented this season from being something special for the Bearcats, but they still finished the year on a respectable 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS run including road wins over Rutgers and Houston.
North Carolina on the other hand is just 1-4 SU in five bowl appearances since winning the Peach Bowl back in 2001. North Carolina is a 3-point favorite playing this game in its home state at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The NCAA college football betting line was holding steady as of Dec. 17.
While both teams ended their regular seasons on losses to quality opponents, both still come in with plenty of momentum after putting together strong second halves to their seasons. Both teams should be comfortable getting into a passing battle in this one, which could make it a very fun one to watch.
Computer Prediction: 38-32 Cincinnati (from Odds Shark Belk Bowl betting preview)