As Duke football travels to Charlottesville, Va., to take on conference foe Virginia, the Blue Zone has some can’t-miss prop bets:
Duke (-4.5) vs. Virginia:
Despite entering enemy territory against then-No. 24 North Carolina led by third-string quarterback Grayson Loftis, Duke fought to the very end against its archrival. Back-to-back Jordan Waters touchdown runs sparked a fourth-quarter comeback, and a 30-yard Jordan Moore touchdown catch helped the Blue Devils force overtime. However, in the second overtime period, Duke could not convert on a two-point conversion, ultimately losing 47-45 to the Tar Heels. Nevertheless, it was an impressive performance from the true freshman Loftis, who completed 16-of-28 attempts with three touchdowns and most importantly, no turnovers. On the defensive end, sophomore linebacker Tre Freeman hawked to the ball with 10 solo tackles, and senior safety Jaylen Stinson snagged an interception against a high-powered North Carolina offense.
Despite its record, Virginia has played really well of late. After starting the year a dismal 1-5, the Cavaliers upset then-No. 10 North Carolina on the road, before taking Miami into overtime the following week and falling just short. Last Saturday, the Cavaliers were up a touchdown with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter against then-No. 11. Louisville, before the Cardinals scored twice late to steal the win. Freshman quarterback Anthony Colandrea has shown improvement since stepping in for the injured Tony Muskett, and passed for 314 yards and a touchdown against Louisville. Star wideout Malik Washington continues to drop jaws, taking nine receptions for 155 yards and a score. The biggest blow for Virginia, however, was when leading rusher Perris Jones went down in the third quarter and was rushed to the ICU, now in a rehab center.
Although Virginia has shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with the mid-to-upper echelon of ACC football, Duke still has the talent advantage on both sides of the ball. Expect Loftis to continue to grow and improve, and an emotionally charged Virginia to keep it close but ultimately fall short.
Pick: Duke -4.5
Over/Under 46 total points:
Duke, for all its turmoil at the quarterback position, has consistently scored the ball thanks to talented running backs Waters and Jaquez Moore. The duo has amassed a combined 1,168 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, helping the Blue Devils average 27.6 points per game. Against a Virginia team ranked 113th in rushing defense, allowing 4.89 yards per carry and giving up 32.3 points per game, the third worst in the ACC, expect the Blue Devils offense to find the end zone on multiple occasions.
On the other side of the ball, Virginia’s offense has been streaky. While only averaging 23.2 points per game, the Cavaliers have shown the ability to score against quality ACC opponents, some of whom have beat Duke. On Saturday, the Blue Devils will have to do a much better job containing Virginia’s Washington than they did against North Carolina’s Devontez Walker, who caught seven receptions for 162 yards. Washington, a 5-foot-8 speedy senior, has amassed 1,199 yards — the second most in all of college football — and seven touchdowns. Expect the Duke secondary to have some problems, leading to a few Virginia scores.
Pick: Over 46 total points
Jalon Calhoun over/under 51.5 receiving yards:
No player has been more negatively affected by the Duke quarterback carousel than Jalon Calhoun. Despite high expectations after a fantastic senior season, the redshirt senior wideout has only caught 37 passes for 519 yards. However, last week was a positive performance for Calhoun, who gained 64 yards off six receptions. Starting to establish a bit of a rapport with Loftis, expect the Greenville, S.C., native to find space to exploit a struggling Virginia secondary.
Pick: Over 51.5 yards
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