ACC rivals Boston College and Duke will throw down in Durham on Saturday. Below we break down this matchup with an eye towards cashing in our college football picks this weekend!
Boston College Eagles vs. Duke Blue Devils
Saturday, September 19, 2020 – 12:00 PM ET at Wallace Wade Stadium
Will Eagles Soar in Debut?
Boston College wound up the 2019 season with a 6-7 record after dropping a 38-6 decision to Cincinnati in the Birmingham Bowl. The subpar season cost head coach, Steve Addazio, his job, and spurred an offer to Ohio State’s former co-defensive coordinator, Jeff Hafley. Addazio’s firing also caused quarterback Anthony Brown to transfer to Oregon this season, leaving either Phil Jurkovec and Dennis Grosel to fill the void.
The intriguing aspect of this year’s BC team is the continuity going forward. Although they were not a powerhouse last season, they do have the talent. Much of that talent is staying put as opposed to other programs that see a mass exodus of graduating seniors and players transferring out. The Eagles will return all three of their top receiving targets from last season in the forms of Hunter Long, Kobay White, and Zay Flowers. They will also be joined by a sparsely used Jaelen Gill, who did more sitting than playing for Ohio State last year.
The Eagles will not lose as much if any, production in the rushing game without A.J. Dillon in the backfield this season due to his talented backup, David Bailey, taking over. That’s a bold statement to make particularly considering Dillion was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Packers. But it should be noted Bailey averaged a whopping 5.7 yards per carry in 148 attempts with seven touchdowns last season. He’s a good one and he will make noise on the national stage barring injuries.
Devils Lose Fight to Irish
If you took a look at the college football odds over at Bovada last Saturday you would have seen that Duke was a 22 ½ point underdog to the mighty Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. However, the Blue Devils showed some spunk and hung tough for their backers in a 27-13 setback. If there is such a thing as a good loss, this was it.
Granted, Duke’s offensive line did struggle against a relentless Irish defensive front. While junior transfer, Chase Brice, previously a backup quarterback at Clemson, was sacked three times and held without a touchdown.
Head coach David Cutcliffe understands that Boston College brings a physical defense to the field and stated, "Boston College, we know very little about," Cutcliffe told the media on Monday. "They haven't played a game. All we can do is to do the work and to prepare our team as best we can. We know it'll be a physical game against a very physical team...both fronts for Boston College, we know their personnel is extremely physical and they've had some grad transfers [come in]."
Wanna Make a Bet?
It’s always a dicey proposition trying to predict how good, or bad, a team will be before the season begins. However, what we do know is that BC is returning an overwhelming majority of their offensive starters which means chemistry will be intact from the get-go. Moreover, a new coach like Jeff Hafley, from a bigtime program like Ohio State, will bring new ideas and schemes to an offense that has been uninspired under Addazio’s regime over the last several years.
I believe Duke has a decent defense, but their offense concerns me, and if I am going to lay six points, I want to make sure the team I back in my college football picks can - ya know - score. Below are a few trends that bolster my contention that the underdog Eagles are the right choice on Saturday.
|- Eagles are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games as a road underdog.|
|- Eagles are 13-5-1 ATS in their last 19 games as an underdog.|
|- Eagles are 7-3 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.|
|- Blue Devils are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games as a home favorite.|
|- Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight-up loss.|
|- Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 conference games.|
|- Blue Devils are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.|