Duke travels to Florida State looking to stay undefeated in ACC play. Before the primetime kickoff in Durham, the Blue Zone has some can’t-miss prop bets:
No. 16 Duke (+14.5) at No. 4 Florida State:
In by far its biggest test of the year, Duke travels to Tallahassee, Fla. to take on unbeaten Florida State. With the uncertainty surrounding the health of star quarterback Riley Leonard, Vegas has given Duke 14.5 points, the most all season. Leonard’s inability to go last week hardly slowed the Blue Devils, as big plays from Jalon Calhoun and Jordan Waters led them to a 24-3 victory over an anemic in-state foe in North Carolina State. Although backup quarterback redshirt freshman Henry Belin IV only completed four passes and threw one interception, he settled in and did just enough to manage the game without any real stress. The Duke defense continued to be the star of the show, only allowing three points after the aforementioned interception and creating four sacks and one interception. As a unit, they have only allowed 9.8 points per game, putting them at fourth in the nation.
Meanwhile, Florida State continued its domination of the college football world last weekend with a 41-3 rout of Syracuse. Led by experienced quarterback Jordan Travis, a Heisman favorite who has been in college since 2018, the Seminoles have scored 30 or more points in every game thus far. Junior wide receiver Keon Coleman leads the way in the air with 418 yards and seven touchdowns, and junior Trey Benson averages 7.1 yards per carry on the ground. Although their defense allows 362.8 yards per game, they still boast an impressive turnover margin of .83 per game.
Placing a spread bet on a team in this game should solely depend on the health of Leonard. If the junior quarterback plays at even 75% of his capacity, Duke’s defense will keep it within the two-touchdown margin. However, if Leonard is unable to go and Belin is challenged to do more by the Florida State defense, the game could get ugly fast. In the Doak after Dark without a trusty man under center, a 21-0 Florida State lead into halftime doesn’t seem that far-fetched.
Pick: Florida State -14.5
Over/Under 49.5 Points
The high powered Florida State offense, while a force to be reckoned with, was challenged when it met a unit comparable to the Duke defense. Its toughest task to date was a tangle with the Clemson Tigers, who limited the Seminoles to 24 points in regulation. While Clemson’s defense is ranked fifth compared to Duke’s 16th, both teams feature stout defensive lines with speedy coverage guys on the back end. It is likely that Duke defensive coordinator Tyler Santucci can use playmakers like seniors defensive tackle DeWayne Carter and Jaylen Stintson to create problems for the Seminoles offensively.
On the other side of the ball, with questions swirling surrounding the health of Leonard, the Blue Devils offensive ceiling remains limited. Graduate running back Waters, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, will likely see an increase in touches with either quarterback in the backfield. Duke will likely look to take longer drives that bleed the clock and make the game shorter to limit the amount of attacking time for the Seminoles. Although Vegas predicts an explosion of points, expect a much slower paced, low-scoring affair.
Jordan Waters Over/Under 45.5 Rushing Yards
Waters continued his breakout season last weekend with a whopping 13 carries, 123 yards and one touchdown against North Carolina State. His biggest burst came on a 83-yard touchdown rush midway through the third quarter, which saw him race away from Wolfpack defenders untouched and put the Blue Devils up by three scores. The senior from Fairmont, N.C., leads all position players with 502 total yards from scrimmage and has scored a touchdown in every game thus far. For Duke to keep it close, Waters will have to be at his best from the opening snap; look for Blue Devils offensive coordinator Kevin Johns to go to the speedy back early and often.
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