Duke Blue Devils (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. No. 7 Louisville Cardinals (4-1 SU, 3-1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Friday October 14th, 2016. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Louisville, K.Y.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DUKE +32/LOU -32
Over/Under Total: TBA
After suffering their first loss of the season at Clemson two weeks ago, the no. 7 Louisville Cardinals will return to action this Friday night when they host the Duke Blue Devils inside Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Despite the loss at Clemson, Louisville is still in position to make a run towards the 4 team College Football Playoffs. With the help of a favorable schedule, Louisville will need to take care of business and continue to earn some “style” points. This Friday’s nationally televised event against Duke will be the perfect opportunity to get some of the national spotlight back on the Cardinals if they can take care of business.
The Cardinals will be huge favorites this Friday night. Currently, oddsmakers have Louisville listed as 32 point favorites over the 3-3 SU Blue Devils. However, Duke has already shown that they can go on the road and pull off a big upset. The Blue Devils accomplished that feat a few weeks ago when they went into South Bend and upset the Fighting Irish as 21 point underdogs. Unfortunately that win was one of the only bright spots for this Duke team under David Cutcliffe. In fact, it has become quite apparent that Duke has fallen in terms of talent at least from the teams that racked up 27 wins over the last 3 seasons. As it stands now, Duke will be fairly large underdogs in each of their remaining 6 games.
However, that is not to say that this Duke team cannot contend. In reality, they could be very solid football team if they could find a few answers. A few of the biggest problems surround the offensive side of the ball that has continuously been up and down all year. Quarterback Daniel Jones has had a tough time controlling the football. Jones has tossed 8 picks on the year with just 7 touchdowns. The passing game has been one of the monikers to Duke’s success in recent years but they have struggled mightily to throw the football on a consistent basis. The Blue Devils have some playmakers in running back Jela Duncan and wide receiver Anthony Nash. The offense just needs to be more consistent to be a bigger threat to defenses.
Defensively, Duke has been pretty solid on paper ranking 26th in total defense giving up just 345 yards per game. However, it is safe to say that Duke has yet to line up across from an offense as talented as Louisville. Now the Blue Devils will get the extremely tough task of trying to contain quarterback Lamar Jackson who is leading about every early season Heisman Trophy ballot. Jackson’s numbers have been incredible with 1,625 yards through the air including 14 touchdowns with 4 picks and another 688 yards and 14 additional touchdowns on the ground. Yes, Jackson has already accounted for 28 total touchdowns in just 5 games and he is the biggest reason this Louisville offense has become so popular to watch.
Jackson is a very accurate thrower but it is his quickness that makes him impossible to defend. Duke plays solid defense but they do not have the speed to do anything with Jackson. He will be able to spread the field and get the rest of the offense involved rather easily in this mismatch of speed. I know a lot of people are wondering why this line is listed so high considering the fact Duke has been competitive in every game they have played. The answer to that question is “speed.” Duke just does not have enough speed on defense to stop Louisville from doing whatever they want. Jackson will run all over the place and the Cardinals will find ways to make big plays as this one gets ugly and it will all be a result of “speed.”
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Louisville comes in well rested and ready to get back into an offensive groove. Jackson should be able to rip this Duke defense apart as this one gets ugly quickly. Take Louisville -32
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