Pick Duke -6 Over UNC for Thursday's NCAA Football Picks

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 3:39 PM GMT

Looking to rebound after a heartbreaking loss last week, the Blue Devils will take on rival North Carolina on Thursday. Which team are the college football odds favoring?

Odds Overview
At time of writing, the Blue Devils were favored on the college football odds by six points at essentially every major sportsbook out there. It seems to be a firm number, but we wouldn't be all that surprised to see a slight shift, as we still have quite a bit of time before kickoff.

We're going to have a lot of points scored in this one, and there's no way around that. The total reflects that notion, with the number currently all the way up at 66.5. 

Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils were in the middle of a great run heading into a date with Virginia Tech. They had won four straight games to improve to 8-1 on the season, and they were in a great spot in the conference standings.

However, after beating Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Virginia,  and Syracuse, Duke was unable to get a win this past weekend at home against the Hokies. The Blue Devils lost 17-16.

Duke didn't exactly get one taken away from them. The Blue Devils were sloppy on this day, as they turned the ball over three times and weren't able to generate much momentum offensively. This is an offense that was firing on all cylinders coming in, but Virginia Tech made things difficult.

QB Anthony Boone struggled, finishing 18-of-40 for 181 yards with zero touchdown passes and two interceptions. The running game accounted for 141 total yards and a touchdown on 41 carries, while Jamison Crowder led all Duke receivers with six catches for 73 yards.

After this past Saturday's stuttering display, we're curious to see how the Blue Devils respond. They'll be wanting to make it up to their supporters who witnessed the Virginia Tech loss, and you know they're going to be ready to go whenever they play their hated rivals. Motivation isn't going to be an issue here, but will Duke be able to execute?

 

North Carolina Tar Heels
After a rough stretch in late September/early October, in which the Tar Heels dropped four straight, they've recovered to win three of their last four ahead of Thursday night's game in Durham.

On Saturday, North Carolina outlasted Pittsburgh in a 40-35 win at home.

Defense was completely nonexistent for both sides, as the Tar Heels and Panthers each topped 500 total yards of offense. North Carolina was extremely efficient when they had the ball, racking up 30 first downs in just over 24 minutes of possession, and they also avoided turning the ball over in the win.

QB Marquise Williams was fantastic. He threw for 276 yards and a touchdown and then ran for 122 yards and three scores. T.J. Logan chipped in with 18 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown, while WR Ryan Switzer caught the touchdown throw from Williams.

Scoring points hasn't been an issue for UNC this season, but there's been little balance to the team. The Tar Heels have been terrible defensively, allowing an average of 41.2 points per game. That's just not going to cut it for a team that's hoping to compete in the ACC.

 

College Football Pick
With our college football picks for Thursday, we are laying the points and taking the Blue Devils to cover.

Both teams are good offensively, but the big edge for Duke comes on the other side of the ball. The Blue Devils have been great defensively, allowing an average of 18.1 points per game, which ranks 11th in all of college football. That kind of effectiveness in both phases should hold Duke in good stead this week.

Eager to bounce back after losing at home over the weekend, we look for a great response out of David Cutliffe's team. Back Duke.

Free College Football Pick: Duke Blue Devils -6 at 5Dimes