As Duke opens its 2022 season with an at-home matchup against the Temple Owls, the Blue Zone brings you our can't-miss prop bets for the game:
Duke (-9.5) vs. Temple
Don’t kid yourself. Duke will be tested right out of the gate, with Elko’s debut contest coming down to the fourth quarter. Temple quarterback D’Wan Mathis, a former four-star prospect who began his college career at Georgia, possesses a rocket arm and has tightened up his fundamentals as an Owl, so the Blue Devil secondary, which was porous in 2021, will be tested.
Plus, there’s always the possibility that Riley Leonard grapples to build rapport with the likes of Jalon Calhoun, Eli Pancol, Darrell Harding Jr. and Nicky Dalmolin, considering it’s opening night. Practice reps are one thing, but live game action is a different beast.
All that said, a touchdown and then some feels like a lot of points to give to Duke in this spot. Ultimately, the Blue Devils win thanks to a steady diet of Jaylen Coleman, Jaquez Moore and Jordan Waters, but this one will be a nail-biter.
Pick: Temple +9.5
Over/under 50 points
Football is back, and that means one thing. Take the over.
If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that points will be scored in bunches Friday night. The Owls and Blue Devils were last in the AAC and ACC, respectively, in points allowed, with both giving up over 37 a night. Both units are under new management, as D.J. Eliot (Temple) and Robb Smith (Duke) look to turn things around defensively.
Those turnarounds might come as the season progresses, but in week one, expect a batch of trips to the end zone for these two offenses. Mathis and Leonard, a pair of athletically gifted signal callers, will be unafraid to attack the intermediate and deep throwing lanes. While neither offense will pitch a perfect game, a big evening for Temple halfback Edward Saydee will keep the Owls in it, forcing Duke to keep the pedal down to close it out.
Pick: Over 50
Over/under 1.5 Duke turnovers
The Blue Devils' last three seasons have been defined by head-scratching, mind-boggling turnovers, the main reason they have won just four out of 26 conference games. Each year, Duke ranked outside the top 100 nationally in turnover margin, and red zone turnovers were a deflating trend.
As a result, Elko made limiting turnovers a major priority in the offseason, saying last month “We should make [protecting the football] an emphasis regardless of what happened in the past, but the past makes it easier to make it a huge emphasis,” per 247Sports. Miscommunication between Leonard and one of his receivers—it is opening night, after all—could lead to a Temple interception, but expect the Blue Devil offense to be fairly precise.
Pick: Under 1.5
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.