Let’s take advantage of Saturday’s massive betting card with a college football parlay. Top Sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for Saturday’s upcoming college football action. One game, in particular, interests me as worth investing in Duke vs. Virginia.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play both the spread and the total for this game. Feel free to parlay both bets at online sports betting site in order to maximize your profit.
Duke Blue Devils vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Saturday, October 16, 2021 – 12:30 PM EDT at Scott Stadium
Since head coach Bronco Mendenhall began his time at Virginia, entering the 2016 season, Virginia is a perfect 5-0 ATS against Duke. The only close game between these two teams was a seven-point game in 2017. Duke stayed in the contest because it managed a 12-yard touchdown drive and a pick-six. However, Virginia won every other game by at least two touchdowns.
Particularly the offense has thrived, producing 48 points in 2019 and 38 last season in Brennan Armstrong's first career start as UVA's quarterback. However, Duke quarterbacks have also consistently struggled, whether it was current New York Giant Daniel Jones or one of his followers.
In view of this series history, the Cavaliers do not seem favored by nearly enough points by NCAAF oddsmakers.
Virginia's Match-Up Edge
Offensively, Virginia matches up least optimally against defenses that thrive against the pass. The reason for this is that the Cavaliers struggle to establish the run, are strongest through the air, and so are relatively reliant on passing the ball. Far from thriving against the pass, the Blue Devil pass defense is simply awful.
Defensively, Duke reliably allows massive amounts of passing yards as opponents consistently connect on big plays through the air. One statistic that provides evidence of this detrimental tendency is the following: Duke ranks 106th in limiting the opponent's passer rating.
Moreover, the Blue Devils rank 118th in limiting opposing passing yardage. Evidently, Duke has one of the nation's worst passing defenses. Kansas quarterback Jason Bean, for example, accomplished by far his best output against the Blue Devil defense. Failing to reach 200 passing yards in any other game, Bean amassed 323 against Duke.
Therefore, Virginia matches up excellently with the Duke's defense. The Cavs own the nation's fourth-highest pass play percentage because they love to pass the ball.
For your NCAAF betting, expect them to pass all over Duke without the Blue Devils being able to impede them.
The key for Virginia is quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who has improved significantly this year in terms of being efficient, showcasing deep-ball prowess, and limiting mistakes.
He, therefore, completes a higher percentage of his throws, amasses more YPA, and throws fewer interceptions. Armstrong has thrown for over 400 yards in four of Virginia's six games with one exception coming in the blowout win over William & Mary, the other coming in Miami's typically tough environment.
One impressive aspect of Armstrong's success is the overall lack of experience of Virginia's returning pass-catchers. He has developed chemistry with them despite their lack of experience. Billy Kemp was one exception as he was already experienced before this year. He has been a consistent target for Armstrong to rely on.
It would be a nice bonus if the leading receiver (in terms of yards) Dontayvion Wicks could play on Saturday. The big-play threat is currently listed as 'questionable.' But know for your best bets that there are various other options -- for which reason Virginia still scored 34 points in its upset road win at Louisville with Wicks only catching one pass.
While Duke's secondary appears healthy, it suffered significant losses during the offseason. One Blue Devil safety, Michael Carter II, was drafted in the fifth round of last year's NFL draft.
His teammate, cornerback Mark Gilbert, signed with the Steelers. Overall, the Blue Devil secondary entered this season with significant experience. But having a lot of returning players is not a good thing when those returning players aren't good.
The Blue Devil secondary struggled last year and these struggles have only been accentuated this year by the loss of those two NFL-caliber players. These personnel issues further explain why Brennan Armstrong is licking his chops for Virginia.
Duke Offense vs. Virginia Defense
Offensively, Duke matches up poorly with the Virginia defense because it primarily wants to run the ball. Hence, the Blue Devils own the 104th-highest pass play percentage. One reason for Duke's disinclination to pass is its quarterback's proneness to making mistakes. Gunnar Holmberg, for the Blue Devils, has thrown an interception in four straight games now.
The problem with this one-dimensionality is that Duke won't be able to run much against Virginia because of the latter's high-scoring ability. In order to keep pace with the Cavalier offense, the Blue Devils will need to pass the ball way more often than they want to. Consequently, the Duke offense will have to rely on its weakness while Virginia's offense thrives off of its strength.
Going against Duke's porous secondary, Virginia's pass-friendly offense will outpace the Blue Devils' run-first offense. As for the total, it's simply too high, especially in view of Duke's offensive disadvantage in this game.
Know for your NCAAF picks that both teams have combined for 5 'unders' in their last five games. For the above reasons, parlay Virginia ATS with the "under."
Feel free to use our trusty parlay calculator for your parlay betting needs.
Cavaliers -11 (-110)
Under 69 at -105
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.