North Carolina Tarheels (5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (8-2 SU, 6-3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date and Time: Thursday, November 20, 7:30pm EST
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium – Durham, NC
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:UNC +6/DUKE -6
Over/Under Total: 66.5
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It is here!!! Thursday night, ESPN: DUKE VERSUS NORTH CAROLINA! Oh, wait, nevermind. It is the football version, I was in basketball mode. Anyhow, regardless, this should be a great ACC rivalry game. The Duke Blue Devils are two wins away from clinching their second straight trip to the ACC title game against Florida State. Duke comes in at 8-2 overall while the UNC Tar Heels are 5-5. The pressure in this game is 100% on the Dukies. One loss, and they will lose their spot in the ACC title game to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. No room for error! This game is known as the Victory Bell game and was first played in the year 1888 and as we speak, UNC leads the all-time series 43-22-1. However, Duke has won the last two meetings and technically the last four due to UNC having to vacate wins. Lets see who takes home the Victory Bell in 2014!
This game opens with a line of Duke favored by six points at home and the total points are 66.5. It looks like the bookmakers are predicting one heck of a scoring fest in this one. Against the spread so far this season, Duke is 6-3-1, while the UNC Tarheels are 4-6 on the season. These rivalry games are always interesting and you never know what will happen when two teams that hate each other so much take the field.
For the better part of the last 20 years, UNC has been the better team between these two schools. With that said, Duke has made huge strides in not only being the best team in North Carolina, but they are making a case nationally. North Carolina has been about as average as you can get this year. At 5- overall, and 3-3 in the ACC, the Tar Heels are pretty mediocre. They started the season at 2-0 with wins over Liberty and San Diego State, but that is when everything came crashing down. UNC went on to lose their next four games, including a 70-41 thrashing from the East Carolina Pirates. After nearly upsetting a then undefeated Notre Dame, the Tarheels did put together a good game and beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets who are one of the top ACC teams to date. After that win, then another victory over Virginia, UNC has again dropped back to back games. This team has been up and down all year. The UNC offense has done its part this season, averaging 290 yards passing, and 140 yards rushing per game. The Tarheels are also scoring an average 36 points a game, which ranks them 24th in the country. Now, to the defense, oh lord they are bad. UNC is ranked 125th in the nation in points allowed. The Tarheels are giving up 41 points a game, and the real sad stat is that they have lost three games in which they score 35 points or more. Well, that my friends is the key to this game…defense for the Tarheels. If these guys cannot stop the Duke offense, it will be a bad bad game. If they can get a few stops, I can see UNC making this game interesting.
The Duke Blue Devils are two wins away from their second consecutive Coastal Division championship. Coach David Cutcliff has turned this program around. What used to be a laughing stock, has become one of the best ACC teams in the last two seasons. Statistically, Duke is solid on both sides of the ball. The Blue Devils offense, led by quarterback, Anthony Boone, is scoring over 30 points per game. Ye,s the offense is pretty sound, but it is the Duke defense that puts the offense in position to win games. Duke is ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 18 points per game. There really is not much more detail to go in with this Duke team. These guys are solid. They do not make the costly mistakes, and they play extremely disciplined football. Duke is going to score points on the UNC defense…if the Devils defense can hold strong like they have all season, I like them to win this game and take home the Victory Bell for the third year in a row.
A home favorite at night, and 66% of the gamblers have money on them at -6. That is pretty scary, but I really like Duke in this one. I know UNC can score, but the combination of Dukes defense and the lack of defense UNC plays, I just think the Blue Devils will be too much for UNC. I am not predicting some crazy blowout, but I like Duke to win this game somewhere around 27-17 or something like that.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE DUKE BLUE DEVILS -6