There could be an inflated total in a matchup of two of the best defenses in the ACC, so the ‘under’ looks appealing at a high number of 58 when Duke visits North Carolina on Saturday.
There appears to be an inflated total Saturday afternoon in a matchup of two of the better defenses in the ACC, perhaps giving the ‘under’ good value when the Duke Blue Devils (6-2, 5-3 ATS) look to shake off the shafting they received from the officials last week as they pay a visit to the North Carolina Tar Heels (7-1, 5-3 ATS) at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC at 12:00 Noon ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 58 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -104.
Most Unbelievable Ending Ever?
The ending of Duke’s game vs. the Miami Hurricanes last week will go down as one of the wildest ever with Miami officially getting the 30-27 win by scoring on a kickoff return that included eight laterals, a play that stood even after a long replay review despite several events that should have nullified the play, thereby costing Duke a win that may cost it a Coastal Division title. The entire officiating crew was then suspended for two ACC games.
That loss dropped Duke to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the Coastal, now making this a must game with North Carolina leading the division at 4-0. The Tar Heels have now been the winning college football picks in seven straight games since an opening week loss, and at 7-1 they are ranked 21st on the AP Poll, although they failed to crack the Top 25 in the initial College Football Playoff Rankings.
Blue Devils are ‘under’ Friendly
Last week marked just the second time in eight games this season that Duke went ‘over’ the total, although by rights the game should have ‘pushed’ the closing total of 51 as the last touchdown should not have counted. That 6-2 ‘under’ mark is attributable to a fine defense that is allowing just 16.1 points per game.
Those 16.1 points place the Blue Devils 11th in the country in scoring defense and they rank a tad better in total defense, in ninth allowing 295.0 yards per contest. Moreover, the Duke defense has no real weakness, ranking eighth in passing defense at 166.1 yards per game on 6.1 yards per pass and 30th in rushing defense at 128.9 yards per game on 3.0 yards per rush.
Now, Duke also ranks a respectable 50th in total offense with 420.7 yards per game, but this is not a quick-strike offense by any means. Quarterback Thomas Sirk is efficient as he has completed 60.0 percent of his passes with 12 touchdown throws vs. just three interceptions, but he is also averaging only 6.4 yards per pass attempt, so he does not take many chances downfield, and he is also a good runner in fact leading Duke with his 485 rushing yards.
Much Improved Tar Heels Defense
North Carolina has not lost since opening the season with a 17-13 defeat to South Carolina, and it was apparent even in that loss that this defense has come a long way after the Tar Heels brought in former Auburn head coach and defensive mastermind Gene Chizik to be the new defensive coordinator to help improve a defense that allowed 39.9 points and 498.1 yards per game last year.
And the defensive improvement has been extreme as the Heels are now 15th in the country in points against at 17.0 per game, shaving a shade more than three touchdowns off of last season’s average, and they have also chopped off 140 yards while ranking 43rd in total defense at 358.0 yards per contest. It was believed that North Carolina would be a dangerous team if it had a defense to go along with a great offense, and that has come to fruition.
With that being said though, the Tar Heels may not get their usual offensive production here vs. the stout Duke defense
An ‘under’ Series at Chapel Hill
Finally, even when North Carolina had more suspect defenses, this has been a relative low scoring series at Chapel Hill with the ‘under’ going 5-1 in the last six meetings here. The ‘under’ is also 11-4 in Duke’s last 15 conference games, as well as 7-1 in the last eight North Carolina games vs. teams with winning records.
Look for more of the same here in a game that seems to have a bloated posted total given the quality of these two defenses this year, so go ‘under’ the total when Duke makes the short trip to visit North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Duke, North Carolina ‘under’ 58 (-104)