Free College Football Picks for Duke +5 vs. Miami

Darin Zank

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 2:00 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 23, 2014 2:00 PM UTC

Duke took care of business through its non-conference schedule, going 4-0 SU, 2-1-1 ATS; now it's time to defend that ACC Coastal Division title. The Blue Devils will begin that task Saturday when they take on Miami at Sun Life Stadium (7:30 pm ET, ESPN2). Here's our breakdown of this match-up, with our free CFB pick. At least the price is right.

The Betting Odds
As of Tuesday morning the best college football odds we could find for Miami was the -4.5 (-115) offered at SBR Sportsbook, while Duke could be gotten at +5.5 (-108) at Heritage. Those who think the Dukies can win this game outright can get a price of +172 on the moneyline at Pinnacle.

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The Match-Up
After going 10-4 SU (10-3-1 ATS) last year Duke is off to a 4-0 SU (2-1-1 ATS) start this season. The Blue Devils opened with a 52-13 victory over FCS Elon, pushing the spread as 39-point favorites. They then won at Troy 34-17 but missed on the cover by a half-point, at -17.5. Duke then beat Kansas 41-3, covering at -10, and last week beat Tulane 47-13, covering at -17.

The Blue Devils have outgained and outrushed all four of their opponents this season. But last week they only outgained a poor Green Wave team by 46 yards and outrushed them by 25 yards. Duke was helped along by scoring 16 points on defense.

The Blue Devils returned 13 starters this year from that 10-4 division-champion team of last year. Eight starters returned on offense, including senior QB Anthony Boone, last year's leading rusher and top two receivers and three along the offensive line. But only five starters returned on defense.

So far this season Boone has thrown seven TD passes, and just one interception. That's a nice improvement over the 13/13 ratio he posted last year.

Miami, meanwhile, is 2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS on this young season. The Hurricanes opened with a 31-13 loss at Louisville, missing on the cover as six-point dogs. They then beat FCS Florida A&M 41-7 but couldn't quite cover the spread as 45-point favorites. Miami then defeated Arkansas State 41-20, covering at -14. But last week the 'Canes lost at Nebraska 41-31, losing ATS as a seven-point road dog.

The Hurricanes held an early lead over the Cornhuskers, but couldn't stop the run, allowing Nebraska to rush for 343 yards on 54 carries, as the 'Huskers rallied for the victory.

Miami returned 14 starters this season from a team that went 9-4 last year. Seven were back on offense, including RB Duke Johnson and three along the O line, and seven came back on defense.

Freshman QB Brad Kaaya, stepping in for the departed Stephen Morris, threw for 359 yards last week against Nebraska and three scores, but also upped his season interception total to seven with two more picks.


Dukies-'Canes Recent History
Miami had beaten Duke eight times in a row from 2005-'12, but last year the Blue Devils broke through with a 48-30 victory in Durham, winning outright as four-point home dogs. 

The Hurricanes led that game last year 30-28 midway through the third quarter, but the Dukies scored the last 20 points. Duke outrushed Miami 358-186, and the teams combined to rack up more than 1,100 yards of offense. That game played 'over' its total of 64 on a Blue Devils score early in the fourth quarter. 


Dukies-'Canes Betting Trends

Duke is 5-3 ATS over the last eight meetings in this series.

The last three games in this series have played 'over' the totals.


Free NCAAF Pick
Miami's two victories this year have come against Florida A&M and Arkansas State. The Hurricanes got outplayed by Louisville in their opener, and last week gave up 343 yards on the ground to Nebraska. Duke, meanwhile, is led by Coach Cutcliffe, one of our favorites, and one of the best in the business. When you back the Dukies these days at least you know you're getting a well-coached, disciplined team. And this week Duke is getting points. So we'll go with the underdog Blue Devils for our free college football pick on this contest.

College Football Picks: Duke Blue Devils +5

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