Duke Betting Odds Preview
The Duke Blue Devils haven't won a bowl game since the Kennedy administration. They came close last year, about five yards and a minute away, but for some reason destiny said “no,” and the Dukies were left with a 6-7 record and an offseason to think about “what if?” This year Duke will try to get back to a bowl and break that drought, and with a little improvement from the defense it could happen.
The Blue Devils began last year with 17 returning starters and the hope of making it to a bowl for the first time in almost 20 years. And thanks to the most prolific offense this program has fielded in who-knows-how-long and a victory over an FCS team they pulled that off. The Blue Devils started 5-1 last year, with wins over Wake Forest and Virginia, then lost at Virginia Tech (which is no crime), but then upset North Carolina to become bowl-eligible at 6-2.
The Dukies then lost their last four games, to Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Miami, but that wasn't enough to keep them from receiving an invitation to the Belk Bowl. There Duke played an inspired 58-plus minutes, falling only after RB Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5-yard line with the Devils seemingly headed in for the winning score with just over a minute to go. Still, that might be considered a moral victory for a team that hasn't won a bowl game since 1961.
The Dukies only ended up 6-7 ATS last year, 5-2 ATS at home but 1-5 ATS away from Wallace Wade. That ATS record could easily have been a moneymaker, if not for a collapse against Virginia Tech, a close ATS loss to Miami, and the last minute of the bowl game. This year coach David Cutcliffe's squad returns 14 starters, seven on both sides of the ball. Back are last year's top three rushers, 1,000-yard receiver Jamison Crowder, four along the offensive line, and the entire defensive front four. But they will have to replace QB Sean Renfree, last year's top two tacklers, and three-quarters of the secondary.
The Devils have to play at Virginia, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina this year, but get Georgia Tech, Pitt, and Miami at home, and miss Florida State and Clemson. Last year Duke was favored in four games; this year, with four winnable non-conference games and at least a couple winnable ACC contests, it might be favored in a half-dozen or so.
ACC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 30
Florida State +240
Virginia Tech +775
North Carolina +850
Georgia Tech +1050
NC State +7000
Boston College +8500
Wake Forest +15000