Duke returns home Saturday evening to play Virginia in its first ACC game of the year. The Blue Zone gives you some can't-miss prop bets for the game:
Duke (-2.5) vs. Virginia
After nearly completing the comeback, Duke hopes to bounce back from a tough road loss to Kansas at Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday evening against Virginia. Although the Cavaliers have won the previous seven matchups against the Blue Devils, including last year’s 48-0 blowout, Duke has gotten off to a much better start this year than its opponents from Charlottesville, Va.
With a .500 record, including a conference loss to Syracuse last week, Virginia has not gotten out of the blocks the way it expected. While returning senior quarterback Brennan Armstrong has continued to be strong on the ground as the second-leading rusher on the team, in the air he has struggled. His 52.1% completion percentage and average yards per completion have dropped significantly from last season, causing a Virginia offense with almost the same personnel as last year—ranked 21st in the nation—to only be ranked 87th this time around. Duke, for all its defensive lapses last week, continued its illustrious offense, combining for 463 total yards.
As the remnants of Hurricane Ian blow through the Triangle, the forecast currently is projecting no rain at kickoff Saturday night under the lights. Still, on a soaked Brooks Field, expect the run game to be key, especially if that projection turns out to be wrong. While Duke’s run defense has struggled mightily, so has Virginia’s, allowing 133 yards per game on the ground. Expect both sides to lean on their mobile quarterbacks to pick up needed first downs. It will be a close game throughout, but Duke’s offensive edge will be enough to give it a victory by more than 2.5 points and push them to 3-2 against the spread.
Pick: Duke -2.5
Riley Leonard Over/Under 217.5 passing yards
Riley Leonard continued his masterful run of play last week against the Jayhawks. He tossed for 324 yards on 24 completions and had no turnovers. He has now thrown for 1,047 yards and is currently on pace to toss for over 3,000 yards, which would comfortably put him in the top-10 for single season passing yards in school history. The Blue Devils’ offense, under his command, leads the ACC in yards per play at 7.44. And while the forecast is not exactly calling for ideal passing weather, 217.5 yards feels low. He’s thrown significantly north of that number in every game except against North Carolina A&T, when the Blue Devils ran away with victory and head coach Mike Elko decided to rush the rest of the time off the clock. Expect the Duke gunslinger to fire past the Cavaliers and the oddsmakers’ line.
Pick: Over 217.5
Brennan Armstrong Passing TDs 1.5
The 6-foot-2 Virginia quarterback did not get the start to ACC play he wanted, only completing 50% of his passes on 38 attempts in a road loss to the Orange last weekend. On top of that, he turned the ball over once and threw for a dismal 138 yards. After a top-tier 2021 season, the Cavalier signal caller has been a shell of his former self, with inaccurate throws, bad reads and forcing the ball into tight coverage. It must be hard for Virginia fans to watch as their quarterback, who threw for 4,449 yards last year, to only have 848 yards and three touchdowns through four games. In a game with as many question marks about the weather as his performance, look to Virginia to continue to try and score on the ground; they currently have twice the number of rushing touchdowns as passing. While the Duke passing defense struggled against dual threat Jayhawk Jalon Daniels, expect it to bounce back and lock up on the outside, especially in the red zone.
Pick: Under 1.5
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