Duke Blue Devils (5-5, 4-3-1 ATS) at No. 20 Miami Hurricanes (7-3, 5-4 ATS)
Land Shark Stadium Miami, F.L. Saturday November 21st, 12:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Duke +17.5/Miami -17.5
The No. 20 Miami Hurricanes had never won in Kenan Stadium when they took on North Carolina last week and it was proved that sometimes history is hard to change. Miami QB Jacory Harris threw 4 interceptions as the Hurricanes fell to North Carolina 33-24. Miami has to now refocus and regroup this Saturday as they will host the 5-5 Duke Blue Devils. Duke jumped out 10-0 over no. 7 Georgia Tech last weekend, but the Yellow Jackets rallied back bombing 49 unanswered points to blow out the Blue Devils. Duke who was seeking that 6th victory that would make them bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils are still in search of that 6th victory and they hope to be able to pull off that feat against Miami this Saturday.
The Blue Devils defense has been the Achilles heel this season allowing 26 points per contest. The Duke defense shut down Georgia Tech the first few possessions last week, before the Yellow Jackets ran wild to post over 500 yards of total offense. The Duke secondary has pretty solid numbers against the pass holding opponents to just 186 yards per game. The Duke pass defense will be the key to keeping them in the game this Saturday as they go against the heavily unbalanced passing attack of the Hurricanes. The big thing to look out for Saturday is if the Blue Devils can force an early interception. It has been said that Miami QB Jacory Harris is the most unflustered quarterback in the conference. However, after throwing 4 picks against North Carolina it will be very interesting to see how he performs if he gets off on the wrong foot again this Saturday.
Surprisingly the Blue Devils offense is very good. Who would have thought entering the season that Duke would lead the ACC in pass offense averaging 297 yards per game? However, that is exactly what has happened behind senior Thaddeus Lewis. Lewis has completed 62% for 2,640 yards and 16 touchdowns. Lewis should be able to make some plays against a vulnerable Miami pass defense. Wide receivers Donovan Varner, Conner Vernon, and Austin Kelly all have over 40 catches a piece. Lewis has had no problems spreading out the football and that should be the case again this Saturday. The Blue Devils are very similar to the Miami offense as they favor the pass heavily and rarely run the football. I have little doubt Duke will have success throwing the football, but really question how the defense will stack up against a dangerous Miami offense.
In the Hurricanes 3 losses on the year, Harris has thrown 3 touchdowns and 8 picks. When Miami holds onto the football they are very dangerous because they simply know how to move the football down the field. Harris has thrown 19 touchdowns with 16 interceptions on the season, but he has been much more impressive than some of those numbers may indicate. The Hurricanes have the ability to score quickly and often. Wide outs Leonard Hankerson and Travis Benjamin have been big contributors to the offenses success.
Hankerson leads the team with 34 catches for 609 yards and 4 scores. Benjamin the speedster is averaging 18 yards per catch with an additional 4 scores. The Duke pass defense has played pretty well this season, but this will likely be the best passing offense they have seen to date. Miami was able to rack up 49 points in last year’s 49-31 scoring shootout and Harris was able to post career high 5 touchdowns in that contest. Expect the same type of similar high scoring affair as both passing offenses will provide some quick scores. Unless Duke can force a lot of turnovers like North Carolina, Miami should be the victor. However, the over total may be the safest play rather than the 17.5 point betting line.
Jay’s Pick - I’m staying away from the points, and considering a play on the over.