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Beats' picks: Will Duke football get to 4-0 for the 2nd consecutive season?

<p>While Jones manned the sidelines, Bulleit and Gehsmann were engineering a solution to get him back under center.</p>

While Jones manned the sidelines, Bulleit and Gehsmann were engineering a solution to get him back under center.

Prior to each Duke football game, The Chronicle’s Ben Feder, Derek Saul, Michael Model, Mitchell Gladstone and Winston Lindqwister make their predictions for the contest and we’ll track their records throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ matchup with N.C. Central Saturday:

Game predictions:

Ben Feder: Duke 38-3

Even with their injuries, the Blue Devils are far and away the better team. There’s just too much talent for N.C. Central to keep up with this Duke squad. Quentin Harris will get the Blue Devils off to a hot start, allowing the fans to get a glimpse of highly-touted freshman Gunnar Holmberg under center by the fourth quarter.

Derek Saul: Duke 55-10

In the team’s five meetings since 2012, N.C. Central has not come even remotely close to competing with Duke, its big brother in Durham. I don’t expect this year’s contest to be any different, especially given the Blue Devils’ solid performance against their three stronger opponents to open the season.

Michael Model: Duke 48-7

Duke has dominated N.C. Central in each of the last two seasons and there’s no indication that will change Saturday. Although historically being an opportunity for Cutcliffe to dig deep into his depth chart, I imagine the “starters” will get the majority of the snaps with an injury battered unit and a lack of experience across the board. I expect Duke to get out in front early and to continue to take shots throughout the contest. That being said, seven extra points is a tough ask for walk-on Collin Wareham which is why the Blue Devils will settle at 48.

Mitchell Gladstone: Duke 49-10

As the saying goes, ‘Good teams win, great teams cover.’ The betting line for this game is currently off the board, but earlier in the week, it was hovering in the low to mid-40s. Without Daniel Jones, the Blue Devils are a good, but not great team. That said, their defense is playing about as well as possible, especially with a plethora of injuries, and the Eagles won’t have much an answer for Quentin Harris. Duke will move to 4-0 and set up a primetime matchup between two undefeated (and potentially ranked) teams next Saturday.

Winston Lindqwister: Duke 45-7

Injuries aside, I can’t fathom how a team that came together to crush Northwestern and Baylor could possibly fall apart against N.C. Central. The Blue Devils have absolutely dominated the matchup in the past two years, and there’s no indication of that changing anytime soon. Although the Eagles are boasting an experienced roster with an upgraded receiving corps, this should be a an easy confidence booster for interim quarterback Quentin Harris. With the very real possibility of running Duke’s offense against Virginia Tech’s highly touted defense next weekend, Harris will need all the time on the field he can get.

Overall results:

Ben Feder: 1-2

Derek Saul: 3-0

Michael Model: 3-0

Mitchell Gladstone: 3-0

Winston Lindqwister: 2-1


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