Over/Under 6.5 Wins () vs Duke Blue Devils ()Date : 08/31/2018
Time : Army Black Knights @ Duke Blue Devils 7:00 PM
Location : Wallace Wade Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 6.5 Wins vs Duke Blue Devils
The Duke Blue Devils are entering their 11th season under David Cutcliffe and are looking to make consecutive bowl games after they won the Quick Lane Bowl in 2017 against the Northern Illinois Huskies. Duke was solid on defense last season as they paved the way to a bowl game but they will need to do it under a new coach as former defensive coordinator Jim Knowles left for Oklahoma State. Duke will try to avoid another mid-season fall as they lost 6 consecutive games last season from 9/29-11/11. Cutcliffe returns his skill players but they are also only returning 2 starters from the offensive line which could be problematic considering this team only averaged 19.8 PPG in ACC play. Duke may be known for their basketball program who continually land big-time recruits and they might need to shed some magic on the football program as they ranked 12th of 14th in the ACC recruiting rankings this past offseason. The one highly touted recruit that Cutcliffe brought in is 4-star defensive end Tahj Rice who was the 3rd best player in the state of Kentucky. Duke will fight an uphill battle this season but to their advantage, they play on the weaker side of the ACC.
Over/Under 6.5 Wins's Latest Performance :
Duke put their bowl eligibility at risk last season when they lost 6 straight games against ACC opponents but this veteran filled team is ready to take another step forward this season and make yet another bowl game. Oddsmakers have considered not only their veteran leadership but also factored in the fact that another 6 game losing streak is unlikely which has the over/under set at 6.5 wins. If Duke hits the over with 7 or more wins it will be the most wins since 2015 where they went 7-5.
Tough Non-Conference Slate
The Duke Blue Devils feel like they can compete with the best of them this season and they will be able to gauge their season success in the first few games of the season as they will see some tough non-conference opponents. Duke will open up the season against Army which will show if the defense is legit or not especially in the run game. The schedule gets musky after the Army game as the Blue Devils will have to play two tough road games with visits to both Northwestern and Baylor. Clemson will have two games against the other ACC division as they will travel to the defending ACC champions and then host in-state rival, Wake Forest. Duke’s hardest road game outside of Clemson will be when they travel to Miami for a matchup as they have not had luck on their side in Florida. The only game that Duke can chalk up as a definite win this season is their non-conference matchup against FCS foe in N.C. Central.
Duke Blue Devils's Latest Performance :
Duke may have lost a ton of experience up front on their offensive line but they should be excited at the fact they return one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC with Daniel Jones returning for his redshirt junior season. Jones was really good in 2017 as he made an impact on both the rushing game and passing game as he combined for 3209 yards and 21 touchdowns. Duke may have lost their top running back in Shaun Wilson but they return his complimentary back in Brittain Brown who sat second on the team in rushing yards with 701 and first in rushing touchdowns with 7. The real threat for Duke resides in their receiving core as they return their top 2 guys from 2017 in Jonathan Lloyd and T.J. Rahming. Rahming is a short receiver as he stands at 5’10 but that takes nothing away from the shifty slot as he led the team in receiving yards with 795. Despite losing their defensive coordinator the Blue Devils should still be in good shape as they return two of the best defenders in the ACC. Linebacker Joe Giles-Harris was recently listed in a short list of the top linebackers in division 1 football and his stats back it up as he led the team in tackles with 125 as well as in TFL with 16. The other piece that returns for Duke is cornerback Mark Gilbert who defended his island as good as any cornerback in college football. Gilbert led the Blue Devils in interceptions with 6 as well as in pass deflections as he racked up over 15. He will be joined in the secondary by safety Jeremy McDuffie who was a force in the passing game as well as he had 3 interceptions from the center of the field.
Player To Watch
Deon Jackson, RB, Soph.
Deon Jackson is a powerful back as he sits at 225 pounds and although he was limited to action in his freshmen season last year I expect him to take over a much bigger role in Shaun Wilson’s exit. Jackson did not crack 100 rushing yards last season as he fell just short with 97 yards on 32 carries but he shouldn’t only see an increase in carries but also in another role. Jackson was able to show a spurt of speed and power during the spring which has the running back slated to be the starting kick returner as well as see time at punt returner. This is one of the main reasons Jackson is my guy to watch for Duke as I want to see how the youngster takes on an increased role this season in many areas of the field.
How Over/Under 6.5 Wins & Duke Blue Devils Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 6.5 -110
Under 6.5 -110
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
8/31- Army- W
9/8- @ Northwestern- L
9/15- @ Baylor- W
9/22- N.C. Central- W
9/29- Virginia Tech- L
10/13- @ Georgia Tech- W
10/20- Virginia- W
10/27- @ Pittsburgh- L
11/3- @ Miami- L
11/10- North Carolina- W
11/17- @ Clemson- L
11/24- Wake Forest- W
Overall Record- 7-5
Against The Spread Selection: Over 6.5 Wins -110
My reason for the pick :
Duke had a really good chance at winning more than 7 games last season but they endured some struggles in ACC play, but don’t bank on that happening again under veteran head coach David Cutcliffe and an upperclassman filled roster. Duke may be missing some of their offensive line but I can look past that uncertainty as Daniel Jones finally started to live up to expectations at the end of last season. The one thing that sells me in Duke going over the 6.5 win total is the fact that they return two of the best defensive players in the nation as defensive wins championships, especially in the ACC. I have a feeling that Duke can also squeeze out a couple of more wins whether that’s on the road against Pittsburgh or Northwestern as they are all even matchups. Expect Duke to go bowl eligible once again as the veterans will lead the team to a 7 or so win season.