Kickoff is just hours away for Duke football's matchup with archrival North Carolina. The Blue Zone has you covered with some can't-miss prop bets:
Duke (+14.5) vs No. 24 North Carolina:
With junior quarterback Riley Leonard and redshirt freshman backup Henry Belin IV injured, true freshman Grayson Loftis was handed the keys to the Blue Devils offense in a Thursday night matchup against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons took control early, as their run game steamed down the field while the Duke offense floundered. Wake Forest rushed for 159 total yards, and quarterback Mitch Griffis was effectively running the slow mesh system. However, a missed field goal, a turnover on downs and a forced fumble allowed the Blue Devils to keep the ballgame within a score. Loftis eventually found enough of a rhythm to toss a 29-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Jordan Moore to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Senior defensive end Ryan Smith intercepted Griffis later, allowing the offense to set up sophomore kicker Todd Pelino for the game-winning field goal for Duke as time expired.
After two tough losses against weaker ACC opponents, North Carolina made a statement at home, massacring Campbell 59-7. Heisman candidate quarterback Drake Maye passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns, while sophomore running back Omarion Hampton rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 9.6 yards-per-carry. The Tar Heels also flexed their depth in the receiver room, as five players had at least 40 yards in the air. Further, North Carolina effectively created pressure on the defensive side of the ball, recording five sacks — two by way of talented linebacker Cedric Gray.
Although the Blue Devils got extra rest with the long week, neither Leonard nor Belin are ready to come back. Saturday’s matchup on Tobacco Road will be Loftis’ first taste of college football on the road, and it’ll be a tough one. While Duke is known for its defensive prowess, the subpar offense will keep the unit on the field for long periods of time, which will wear them down. Expect Maye to eventually find a way to dissect the Duke defense and send the Blue Devils back to Durham.
Pick: North Carolina -14.5
Over/Under 50.5 Total Points
Directed by Maye, the Tar Heels’ offense has been humming all year, averaging 39.1 points and 518.8 total yards per game. Hampton already has 1,067 yards rushing coupled with 12 touchdowns. Junior wideout Devontez Walker, despite only playing five games, has already amassed the second most receiving yards of the team — with 438 yards on 28 receptions.
On the other hand, the Blue Devils struggled to pass the ball without their starting signal caller, completing seven targets for 86 yards and tossing one interception. Duke relied heavily on the run, with backs Jacquez Moore and Jordan Waters each rushing for 76 yards. The Blue Devils could find similar success Saturday, as North Carolina allows 151.2 yards per game, which ranks 75th in the nation. Expect the high powered Tar Heel offense coupled with a potent Duke rushing attack to score enough points to breach the over.
Pick: Over 50.5 points
Jordan Waters Over/Under 78.5 Rushing Yards
Waters got the bulk of the work against Wake Forest, carrying the ball 18 times and finding the endzone once. The Fairmont, N.C., native leads the team in total rushing yards and touchdowns, and the Blue Devils will need him to be at his best to keep the defense honest against. Expect Waters to see upwards of 15 touches and for him to make the most of the increase in utilization.
Pick: Over 78.5 rushing yards
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