As Duke returns home for a weeknight contest against Wake Forest, the Blue Zone is here with some can't miss prop bets:
Duke (-12.5) vs. Wake Forest:
Hoping to bounce back from a tough but respectable effort against No. 4 Florida State, Duke traveled to Louisville, Ky., for a matchup with the then-No. 18 Cardinals. Instead, the Blue Devils were utterly dominated in by far their worst game of the year. On the offensive side of the ball, Duke was held scoreless for the first time all season, and junior quarterback Riley Leonard registered a QBR of 32.3 on his injured foot. The defense, a unit that has been stellar all year, allowed a whopping 234 rushing yards, 163 of them and two touchdowns by way of star running back Jawhar Jordan. Arguably the best player for the Blue Devils was punter Porter Wilson, whose longest boot of 62 yards helped him earn a spot on the prestigious “Ray’s 8” list, which recognizes four top punters each week. The performance saw Duke fall out of the top 25 for the first time since Week 1.
On the other side of the tape, Wake Forest had its hands full hosting the Seminoles and Jordan Travis, who exploded for 359 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 41-16 rout. Although the Demon Deacon defense had practically no answer, allowing points on seven of the 13 drives, their offense did find some momentum behind junior running back Justice Ellison. The Ashburn, Va., native picked up 77 yards on 10 carries, and his partner freshman Tate Carney was able to add a score. Quarterback Mitch Griffis, was only asked to throw 16 times, had a measly 37.5% completion rate and a QBR of 14.8
With both teams limping in on a short week, expect the game to be a defensive slugfest. With the health of Leonard in question, the inexperience of Loftis and Griffis’ struggles, both teams will likely look to run the ball as much as possible. Expect both teams to stay within a score, with Duke edging out at the end thanks to the parent’s weekend home-crowd advantage.
Pick: Wake +12.5
Over/Under 45 Total Points:
The name of the game Thursday night will be ground and pound. Wake Forest ran the ball a whopping 49 times out of 65 total plays from scrimmage last weekend against Florida State. The Demon Deacons will likely turn to Ellison as well as sophomore back Demond Claiborne, who has accumulated a team-high 493 rushing yards on the season. Duke will also turn to its own dynamic duo of running backs Jordan Waters and Jaquez Moore. While Waters certainly provided more of the firepower early in the season, Moore has been contributing as of late. Although both struggled to get anything on the ground against Lousiville, Moore did run for 110 yards and one touchdown against a talented Florida State defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, both teams have decent run defenses. The Demon Deacons rank 45th in the nation allowing 3.92 yards per carry, while the Blue Devils have dropped to 74th after last week. Look for the game to be won or lost in the trenches and the score to remain low.
Jalon Calhoun Over/Under 54.5 Receiving Yards
Jalon Calhoun’s redshirt senior season has been a mixed bag. While the wide receiver from Greenville, S.C., has had some stellar moments, like the double-move touchdown against N.C. State that took the pressure off of quarterback Henry Belin IV’s shoulders, he only has 435 yards compared to 586 yards through eight games last year. Calhoun has also only eclipsed 100 yards once this year, and has found the endzone twice in that time. With questions as to the health and ability of the Duke signal callers, expect another quiet showing from Calhoun.
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