College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Duke vs. North Carolina: Howell & Co. Ready To Explode?

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Duke vs. North Carolina: Howell & Co. Ready To Explode? article feature image
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  • North Carolina looks to turn around its fate in the ACC with a matchup vs. Duke at home.
  • Sam Howell has thrown 11 touchdowns and four interceptions so far this season.
  • Check out Kody Malstrom's preview and best bet for the conference matchup.

Duke vs. North Carolina Odds

Duke Odds +19.5 (-110)
North Carolina Odds -19.5 (-110)
Moneyline +700 / -1125
Over/Under 72.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

One of the most storied college basketball rivalries meets on the football field for another installment of North Carolina and Duke.

While not the same magnitude as when they play on the court, this is still a big game for both schools nonetheless.

Normally dwelling at the bottom of the ACC, Duke has shown signs of life recently to command the respect of other opponents. Starting off the season 3-1, Duke looks to exploit the weakened ACC Coastal with their revamped offense.

Meanwhile, UNC came into the season with high expectations — ACC championship game expectations.

The title picture for the Tar Heels is quickly evaporating as they’ve stumbled out the gates so far this season. Currently sitting at 2-2, they’ll need to most likely win out the rest of the season if they want a shot at making it to the conference championship.

This one has all the makings to be one explosive game.


Duke vs. North Carolina Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 2
12 p.m. ET
ESPN2

Duke Blue Devils

Duke Offense

This is not the same Duke offense that we’ve known of late.

So far this season, the Blue Devils’ offense has been fast, explosive and efficient. They rank in the top 30 in both Rush Success and Pass Success.

Running back Mataeo Durant has been a man possessed so far. In four games, Durant has rushed for 522 yards and eight touchdowns on six yards per carry.

Durant’s success can be partially credited to his offensive line. Currently ranked 22nd in Line Yards, this line has done wonders for the backfield by limiting opposing pressure.

Duke is also efficient in the air as quarterback Gunnar Holmberg has quietly had a hot start to the season. He’s thrown for 1,140 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions and has also contributed 158 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.


Duke Defense

If Duke is going to pull off the upset, the defense will need to be prepared for UNC’s explosive offense.

Duke’s defense currently ranks below average in limiting the big play, with a ranking of 79th. The secondary will have their hands full with the high-flying Tar Heel passing attack.

If the secondary is going to have any success, they’ll need the help of their defensive line. If the line can disrupt UNC quarterback Sam Howell in the pocket, then that’ll take some burden off the backline in keeping up with the speedy receivers.

Averaging one sack per game, the defensive line of the Blue Devils will need to cut the head off the UNC snake in Howell. Both the UNC line and Duke defensive line are ranked about the same, making it an interesting battle in the trenches.

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North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina Offense

Howell was a popular choice for the Heisman going into the season, but those hopes are already gone.

Howell is still having a decent season as he’s thrown for 1,173 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions while notching 259 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

He’s led the Tar Heel offense to average passing ranks as they sit at 55th in Pass success.

Howell has heavily relied on his favorite target, Josh Downs, who is shredding secondaries. So far, Downs has 32 receptions for 452 yards and five touchdowns.

While the passing game has been pedestrian, the UNC rushing attack has been lethal. Running back Ty Chandler has been a force to be reckoned with as he currently has 370 yards and three touchdowns on six yards per carry.


North Carolina Defense

This will be a similar stylistic matchup, as both teams have explosive filled offenses but shaky defenses.

While North Carolina’s offense has been winning them games, their defense is taking them out of them.

The secondary has been a concern all season, as they’re constantly getting torched. They also rank 97th in PFF tackling, a cause for concern for when Duke’s Durant breaks one past the line.

Duke’s offense will seem more relaxed than usual, as they have nothing to fear in terms of Havoc. UNC ranks 109th in Def. Havoc, allowing opposing offenses to get in a rhythm and move the ball with ease.


Duke vs. North Carolina Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Duke and North Carolina match up statistically:

Duke Offense vs. North Carolina Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 26 72
Line Yards 22 26
Pass Success 15 95
Pass Blocking** 30 111
Big Play 40 75
Havoc 43 109
Finishing Drives 34 98
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

North Carolina Offense vs. Duke Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 16 56
Line Yards 14 56
Pass Success 55 63
Pass Blocking** 57 54
Big Play 7 79
Havoc 110 55
Finishing Drives 28 89
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 92 97
PFF Coverage 80 115
Middle 8 89 116
SP+ Special Teams 37 84
Plays per Minute 5 33
Rush Rate 57.9% (51) 55.1% (66)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Duke and North Carolina are nearly carbon copies of each other with both possessing efficient, fast offenses and weak defenses.

This game will come down to who can limit each other more past the 40, as both defenses are weak at stopping scoring.

On top of both teams having poor ranks in Finishing Drives, both squads are also poor at tackling. This gives more opportunity for big plays and scoring chances, which is why I have my eyes set on the total.


Duke vs. North Carolina Betting Pick

A recipe for a great over is two teams who have explosive offenses and poor defenses that can’t tackle.

Lucky for us, Duke and North Carolina both check those boxes. There should be no reason points are not scored on nearly every possession.

This game is shaping up to be a track meet, as both Howell and Holmberg will be slinging it all game. With plenty of weapons all around, both defenses will have their hands full limiting the big plays.

This game opened at 69 and currently sits at 72.5. I grabbed this at the open and would play this to 73, as fellow analyst BJ Cunningham has this game projected in the low 80s.

I will also look to add a small piece on Duke for any live number over +21 as I don’t see how the Tar Heels defense figures out how to stop Durant or Holmberg.

Pick: Over 69 (Play to 73)

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