College Football Odds, Pick for Duke vs Virginia
David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Duke’s Jalon Calhoun.
Duke vs Virginia Odds, Pick
Jayden Daniels and Bo Nix may receive all the hype, but Grayson Loftis vs. Anthony Colandrea is also appointment television. Okay, maybe not quite, but these two freshmen quarterbacks are both provide optimism for the Virginia and Duke programs moving forward.
Loftis, while not breaking any records, is 1-1 in the last two weeks with back-to-back clutch performances for the Blue Devils. Colandrea, meanwhile, is just fun to watch as he swings for the fences with dangerous passes and makes the Cavaliers offense actually enjoyable television.
Since Riley Leonard went down with an injury against Notre Dame, Duke is just 1-4 ATS. Has Loftis improved enough as a starter? Or will Colandrea record the first win of his career? Let's dive into our college football pick and prediction for Duke vs Virginia on Saturday, November 18.
There’s no sense in beating around the bush: Duke is a much worse team without Riley Leonard.
But what Grayson Loftis has done in the last two weeks is commendable. Against Wake Forest, the freshman quarterback led Duke on a 55-yard drive to set up a game-winning field goal. Last week against UNC, he threw for three touchdown passes in a game the Blue Devils probably deserved to win.
Loftis’ stats haven’t been eye-popping, but we’ve definitely watched him mature in real time.
With Leonard injured, Duke has had to turn to its run game even more. The Blue Devils have run over 40 times a game in each of the last two weeks, for just the second and third time this season.
Duke’s 5.1 yards per carry and 23 rushing touchdowns are the second best in the conference. Jordan Waters and Jaquez Moore have combined for 1,168 yards rushing and are both tied with the fourth most runs of at least 20 yards in length (7) in the ACC.
The Blue Devils defense, which is middle of the pack in the ACC, has had its worst stretch of the season in the last four games, albeit against the top three teams in the ACC standings.
Duke struggles the most against the run, where it ranks ninth in the conference with 154.3 yards allowed per game. The Blue Devils have allowed 10 rushing touchdowns in their last four games.
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Virginia’s season hasn’t gone as planned, but there’s no better example of "there’s more to life than football" than this Cavaliers program. Less than a year after three UVA football players were killed in a shooting, Perris Jones, the roommate of one of the players shot, suffered a serious spine injury last week against Louisville.
Jones underwent successful spinal surgery and was able to briefly walk this week.
But even with the circumstances surrounding Tony Elliott’s Cavaliers, there are several reasons for optimism. Virginia has found its quarterback of the future in Anthony Colandrea, who passed for 314 yards and a score in the Cavaliers’ seven-point loss to Louisville as three-score underdogs.
Colandrea significantly raises the ceiling of Virginia’s offense with his love for throwing the ball down field (sometimes recklessly). Colandrea already has eight completions of at least 40 yards in length, the fifth most in the ACC. Mind you the freshman has played just six games, while everyone else in front of him has played 10.
Colandrea’s threat to run also raised issues against the Cardinals. His 89 yards rushing were the most for a Virginia team that has otherwise struggled to find any consistent success running the ball this year.
When it comes to defending the run, few teams are worse than Virginia. The Cavaliers rank 124th in Run Success Allowed and have allowed 485 combined rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in their last two games.
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Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Duke and Virginia match up statistically:
Duke Offense vs. Virginia Defense
Virginia Offense vs. Duke Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|Special Teams SP+||47||83|
|Seconds per Play||28.8 (98)||26.7 (61)|
|Rush Rate||58.9% (26)||54.6% (79)|
Duke vs Virginia
Betting Pick & Prediction
Young, inexperienced quarterbacks for both teams leaves a lot of uncertainty about this game. The one thing we can rely upon though is Duke’s running game versus Virginia’s defense.
While Loftis has matured in the last two weeks, the Blue Devils are still going to look to run the ball 40+ times. Virginia’s run defense has deteriorated over the last two weeks, getting gashed for over 5.1 yards per carry on a combined 75 attempts in that span.
Virginia’s run defense will wear down as the game goes on, and Duke won’t have to rely on Loftis for another clutch moment. The Blue Devils should have beaten the Tar Heels in regulation last week if not for some questionable officiating, and they won’t have a problem beating an inferior Virginia team by four this week.
Pick: Duke -3.5 | Bet to -4
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