Duke Blue Devils vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish - College Football Predictions Week 4

Duke player in action

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 8:45 PM GMT

Notre Dame couldn't possibly have expected to start the 2016 season at a dismal 1-2. Duke, on the other side, is a lot better team than their record indicates and they possess a very formidable defense. Find out "Who will come out on top?" for your college football picks. 

Kickoff is set for Saturday, September 24th, at 3:30 p.m. EST at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana. This game can be seen on the NBC Network. Apparently, college football odds makers seem to think that Duke is no match for Notre Dame as the Fighting Irish are a decisive 20 1/2 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 60 points.

 

Porous Defense
If Notre Dame is to have any chance of covering that number, their defense will need to play a lot better. This is a team that's allowed 32 points per game and has actually allowed more overall yards than yards gained by their offense. Notre Dame has been especially weak against the run as they've allowed a massive 198.7 rushing yards per game as opposed to Duke, who have allowed just 121 yards rushing and just 18 points overall. I think that Notre Dame will have their work cut out for them.

The play of running back, Jela Duncan, will be key to the Blue Devils' success. Duncan started off the season with a 115 yard, 2 TD performance against North Carolina Central, but has since struggled a bit. Last week, Duncan bounced back with an 11 carry, 53 yards, 1 TD rushing performance in a 24-13 loss to the Northwestern Wildcats. Look for Duncan to possibly get more touches in this game as the Irish defense is vulnerable.

 

Thrown Into the Fire
Freshman quarterback, Daniel Jones, will be thrown into the fire, so to speak, as he faces big-time competition in Notre Dame. Thus far, Jones has played quite well, He has 3 rushing touchdowns to his credit and is coming off of games against Wake Forest and Northwestern in which he averaged over 300 yards passing. Jones has plenty of capable, young receivers and I expect him to be effective in this matchup.

The drop in the level of competition will certainly help a Notre Dame team which has lost to Texas in double overtime, 50-47 and has also lost to Michigan State, 36-28.

 

DeShone Kizer
Despite their record, Kizer has played well in his junior season at the quarterback position for Notre Dame. For the season, he's passed for 715 yards with 9 TD and 2 INT and has also rushed for 126 yards and 4 TD's. He will be tested against a tough Duke defense, but Kizer has an outstanding offensive line and receivers such as Equanimeous St. Brown (15 receptions, 243 yards, 3 TD's), C.J. Sanders (154 yards, 2 TD's ), and Torii Hunter Jr. (132 yards, 1 TD) to throw the football to. Hunter Jr. sustained a concussion earlier in the season, but should be ready to go in this game and expect the Fighting Irish to come out throwing the football. Without a real go to running back, look for Notre Dame to turn this into a track meet and test the heart of the Blue Devils defense.

I expect Notre Dame to come out strong in this game offensively, but their defense is a real question mark. They're not deserving to be a 20 1/2 point betting favorite after their slow start to the season. My suggestions for college football predictions is to take Duke and the points in a game that Notre Dame will win.

 

Free NCAAF Pick: Duke Blue Devils +20 1/2 (-110) 
Best Line Offered: 
at 5Dimes

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