With an unbeaten streak to protect on home soil, Duke football looks to tackle Northwestern and move to 3-0. Before the Saturday afternoon kickoff, the Blue Zone is here with some can’t-miss prop bets:
Duke (-17) vs Northwestern
After their triumphant victory over Clemson a mere five days earlier, the Blue Devils certainly started slower against FCS opponent Lafayette. Although their first offensive series was successful, they then allowed a long touchdown drive propelled by defensive mistakes before Jordan Waters fumbled the ball on their next offensive snap. Duke, however, came to life and overpowered the outmatched Leopards by a final score of 42-7. The second half even saw backup quarterback Henry Belin IV get some action. The New York native and starter Riley Leonard were the first FBS duo since 1996 to throw for 100 passing yards with 100% completion in the same game.
Northwestern football has been in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons in the last year. Although they were mere inches away from beating the Blue Devils in their Week 2 matchup last year, the Wildcats finished the season an abysmal 1-11. On top of that, a massive hazing scandal rocked the program and led to the termination of head coach Pat Fitzgerald. In the midst of the whirlwind, former defensive coordinator David Braun took the reins as interim head coach and seemingly has things under control. Although Northwestern lost soundly to Rutgers on the road in Week 1, they put up an impressive 38-7 win against UTEP at home last weekend. Running back Cam Porter was their best player on the offensive end, rushing for 90 yards. Quarterback Ben Bryant, a decent game manager who transferred from Cincinnati, holds a 58.5% completion percentage on the year.
The Duke defense will certainly be the most talented unit the Wildcats have faced all year. Although the presence of a few game changers on Northwestern’s defense like Coco Azema can slow the Blue Devils, expect Duke to have no trouble establishing their ground game and creating scores. Vegas seems to be hedging on the Blue Devils, as the line has moved four points in Northwestern’s favor since opening at -21. Nevertheless, expect Duke to cover due to the talent and experience gap.
Pick: Duke -17
Over/Under 48.5 Total Points
Offensively, the Blue Devils have been humming since the second half of the Clemson contest. Duke has averaged 35 points per game, while running back Jordan Waters has exploded for 175 yards on only 22 carries. Junior Riley Leonard continues to gunsling with a 64.4% completion percentage and has yet to turn the ball over. The Blue Devil defense has been very effective in producing big plays this year, turning the Tigers over five times – including two blocked field goals – and Lafayette twice. However, one hole still remains in their stout unit: run stopping. Clemson running back Will Shipley rushed for 114 yards and caught one touchdown pass, while a committee of running backs for the Leopards rushed for a total of 126 yards at 3.8 yards per carry. The Wildcats’ Porter could have a big day on the ground unless the linebacking core of Cam Dillon and Dorian Mausi can improve their ballhawking instincts. For that reason alone, expect Northwestern to score enough points to get to the seven-touchdown mark that is needed to exceed the over.
Pick: Over 48.5 points
Jordan Moore Over/Under 45.5 Yards
Jordan Moore has quietly established himself as one of the premier receiving options this season. The quarterback-turned-wide receiver had seven receptions for 104 yards through the first two games of the season, including a long 49-yard reception in the second half of the Lafayette contest that set up a Belin QB-sneak touchdown. The junior from Sykesville, Md., boasts electrifying speed and can create separation against even the more talented corners in college football. Expect Leonard to find Moore in passing windows to help Duke move more vertically down the field.
Pick: Over 45.5 yards
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