College Football Odds, Picks, Futures: What to Expect From Duke in 2022
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Pictured: The Duke Blue Devils.
It is with a heavy heart that I announce our last Futures Friday is here — but that doesn’t mean the preseason content is ending at Action Network. After all, we have plenty of coverage still to come.
While we’re still a ways away from the start of the college football season, it’s never too late to add futures to the portfolio as the calendar moves closer to the start of the season.
It has been my pleasure to break down each of my futures on Fridays leading up to the season. I'll also tweet them out as I add them @kmalstrom while putting them in my Action App profile.
So far this season, I’ve highlighted my favorite season win totals, division/conference futures and Heisman plays.
We close this Futures Friday book by breaking down the Duke Blue Devils’ season outlook. Luckily, they’re equipped to handle heartbreak as they did in their Final Four loss to North Carolina — because this season isn’t going to be pretty.
Not Your Mama’s Blue Devils
New head coach Mike Elko has his hands full if he wants to turn around a program that has gone 1-17 in ACC play in the last two years and hasn’t seen a bowl since 2018.
Elko will look to mirror the success of the Duke teams he faced while at Wake Forest as the Blue Devils consistently went bowling from 2012-18.
Preach What You Know
If Elko wants Duke to return to that success, he will need to instill his defensive expertise that showed signs of success in his previous stints with Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Texas A&M.
Luckily for him, this unit can’t do much worse than it did last season after finishing 129th in Defensive Success Rate.
Bringing back a defensive TARP rating of 60%, the unit returns some familiar faces and experience up front. The bigger mystery lies in the secondary, a unit that finished dead last in Defensive Passing Success Rate and 103rd in defending passing explosiveness.
Other than juniors Tony Davis and Jaylen Stinson, Duke will rotate a young group to fill the gaps in the secondary. Those players will hope to find any sort of success after giving up the most passing yards per game in the ACC.
To help out the secondary, the experience up front will look to improve on getting in the backfield after finishing 90th in Havoc. RJ Oben and Ahmad Craig will need to help push the offense toward the middle, as Duke got torched all season against the run.
— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) November 13, 2021
If interior tackling can improve and help limit broken plays, Duke will take a much-needed step forward in turning its program around.
Pass, Forrest, Pass
While there’s not much to highlight last season involving Duke football, it was the offense that at least stayed competitive behind stud running back Mataeo Durant. Sadly for the Dukies, he’s not a part of the 48% returning, as he departed for the NFL after a 1,241-yard and nine-touchdown season.
That’s not the only hit Duke’s offense endures. Also gone are starting quarterback Gunnar Holmberg and leading receiver Jake Bobo. Last season’s offense finished 74th in Success Rate and 65th in Finishing Drives.
New offensive coordinator Kevin Johns will look to implement a pass-heavy offense. The player leading the charge at quarterback remains a mystery. Duke finds itself in the midst of a quarterback battle between Jordan Moore and Riley Leonard.
While the offense will have new weapons at every skill position, the offensive line returns experienced production. Duke brings back both of last season's starting tackles in Graham Barton and John Gelotte and adds highly-touted guard Andre Harris from Arkansas State.
Verdict on Blue Devils
Duke has been the ACC’s punching bag for years and will likely struggle once again.
While the defense can’t do much worse than it did last season, the young secondary will be in for a long season if the front seven can’t generate any pressure.
The offense was at least average last season, but it loses its top three players and replaces starters at all skill positions. The offensive line brings much-needed experience, but that can only take a team so far if the weapons can’t produce.
While there are some juiced 3.5s out there, I will comfortably lay my money on a season win total under 3, as we have Duke projected at 2.1 wins.
Duke is currently a favorite in only two games with one being an early coin-flip again Temple. Duke would need to win two more later in the season to bust our tickets — a scenario that I’m confident will not play out.
Pick: Duke Win Total Under 3 (-120)
Previous Picks: Miami Over 8.5 Wins · Miami to Win ACC Coastal (+150) · Alabama to Win SEC · Utah to Win Pac-12 (+400) · Utah Over 8.5 Wins · UCLA Under 8.5 Wins · Kentucky Over 7.5 Wins· Florida State Over 6.5 Wins · TCU to Win Big 12 (+1800) · TCU Over 6.5 Wins