College Football Odds, Picks for Northwestern vs. Duke

College Football Odds, Picks for Northwestern vs. Duke article feature image

Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: Duke quarterback Riley Leonard.

Northwestern vs Duke Odds

Saturday, Sept. 16
3:30 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Northwestern Odds
-110o / -110u
Duke Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

While Northwestern and Duke are two schools of similar academic ilk, the football programs couldn’t be headed in more opposite directions.

Duke is a certified ACC contender after dethroning Clemson in a prime-time matchup to start the season. Northwestern, meanwhile, just picked up its first win on American soil since before Halloween 2021.

But with success comes higher expectations for Duke and Mike Elko, who are now three-score favorites over the Wildcats. Can the Blue Devils avoid taking their foot off the gas, or will they win their third straight game by at least three scores?

Let's dive into the odds for Northwestern vs. Duke and make a pick and prediction in the college football betting preview for Saturday, Sept. 16.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Northwestern Wildcats

Congratulations are in order for the Wildcats after ending a 12-game losing streak last week. The 38-7 win over UTEP was just Northwestern’s second win in its last 20 games.

Despite the 31-point victory, it was about as unconvincing as a blowout win could be. The Wildcats and Miners were tied, 7-7, at the half, and 85 of Northwestern’s 201 passing yards came on a single screen that was thrown behind the line of scrimmage.

Passing remains an issue for this team and Cincinnati transfer Ben Bryant, who has completed less than 60% of his passes with a single touchdown and two interceptions against Rutgers and UTEP. Bryant suffered an injury against the Miners that sidelined him in the second half, but he's expected to start against Duke.

This is still a team that prefers to run the ball despite losing its leading rusher and four starting offensive linemen from 2022. While the Wildcats ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns versus the Miners, Northwestern mustered only 12 yards on 22 carries against Rutgers' Big Ten defense in Week 1.

Defensively, Northwestern has fared well in terms of yardage against two mediocre offenses, but the Wildcats have not been great when it comes to generating pressure — four sacks and a rank of 104th in Defensive Havoc — which is something that will be essential against an experienced Duke offensive line and quarterback Riley Leonard.

Duke Blue Devils

With a 21-point win over Clemson in Week 1, the Blue Devils officially put an end to the narrative that their record would be worse this season than last despite an improved roster.

Duke avoided the letdown game last week with a convincing five-score victory over Lafayette in which Leonard completed all 12 of his pass attempts.

There’s no question Leonard has cemented his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC. While an impressive passer, Leonard is equally effective on the ground, where he added 699 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

The Duke offensive line is arguably the MVP of the offense, returning much of the group that led the ACC in fewest sacks allowed in 2022 and blocked for three running backs still on the roster who rushed for over 4.5 yards per carry with at least 75 attempts.

Duke’s defense remains just as effective as last year, allowing only two touchdowns this season while still generating turnovers. The Blue Devils ranked second in the country last year with a plus-16 turnover margin and currently remain in the top 25 this season after forcing three against Clemson.

While Duke has recorded only four sacks on the season, the entire defensive line from 2022 that ranked 23rd in sacks has returned. Now, they'll face a Northwestern offense that has already been sacked seven times (115th in the country).

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Northwestern vs Duke

Matchup Analysis

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

Northwestern Offense vs. Duke Defense
Rush Success16111
Line Yards85110
Pass Success9022
Finishing Drives2113
Quality Drives1037
Duke Offense vs. Northwestern Defense
Rush Success4739
Line Yards3737
Pass Success27100
Finishing Drives5179
Quality Drives1437
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling2667
PFF Coverage10914
Special Teams SP+8262
Middle 87414
Seconds per Play24.9 (35)27.3 (72)
Rush Rate50.0% (106)57.7% (26)

Northwestern vs Duke

Betting Pick & Prediction

A win over UTEP gave interim coach David Braun all of the feels, but we all saw how poor the Wildcats looked to start the season against the Scarlet Knights.

If Duke has one larger flaw, it's the secondary. But that won’t be tested against a Northwestern offense that isn’t even averaging 200 yards passing per game.

The Duke run defense hasn't been great so far this season, but it should be good enough to at least keep the Wildcats in check.

Northwestern and the points have been getting some love since the Wildcats' Week 2 win, but they're still just a bad Power 5 team.

This should be another efficient day passing and running the ball for Leonard, as the Blue Devils pick up another easy win against the worst team in the Big Ten.

Pick: Duke -18.5 (Play to -19.5)

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