Duke Betting Odds Preview

The Blue Devils are coming off their most glorious season in over 50 years, after winning 10 games and a division title, knocking off a couple of ranked teams, all the while looking like they were having great fun doing it. Even the ACC Championship Game loss to Florida State and the bowl loss to Texas A&M couldn't put a damper on what the Blue Devils had done.

Now, of course, the real trick is to do it again. Head coach David Cutcliffe deserves all the credit, methodically building this program from the ground up, and many of the same pieces from last year remain in place. But Duke will have to fight the letdown factor this season, after the relatively sudden success of last year.

Duke Odds to Win ACC: 20/1 at Bovada
Duke Regular Season Win Total: 8.5

Duke started 2-2 last year, giving up 38 points in a loss to Georgia Tech and 58 to Pitt. But the Blue Devils proceeded to win their next eight games in a row, including victories at Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and North Carolina. And the wins over the Hokies and Hurricanes were Duke's first over ranked teams in 20 years.

To no one's surprise the Blue Devils got roasted by Florida State in the ACC title game, then blew a 21-point lead and lost to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to finish 10-4 SU, 10-3-1 ATS.

The Dukies also went 5-0 SU and 4-0-1 ATS on the road.

This year Duke returns 14 starters, same as last year. Eight starters are back on offense, including senior QB Anthony Boone, WR Jamison Crowder (108 catches last year) and three along the offensive line; and six starters return on defense, just one along the front four but five in the back seven. And they've got a great kicker and a great punter.

Duke begins this season with four very winnable games, then visits Miami and Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils then get a home game with Virginia, but play back-to-back at Pitt and Syracuse. The Dukies then finish with home games against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest. And to their good fortune they also miss Florida State, Clemson and Louisville, the top three contenders from the Atlantic Division.

Coach Cutcliffe is proving himself to be one of the best in the business. Taking Duke to a conference championship game? Wow. But the Blue Devils won several close games last year, and covered a lot of spreads, and trends like that tend to reveres themselves eventually, sometimes very quickly.

Duke has a good chance to make another bowl this year, and maybe they could finally win one – that still hasn't happened since 1960. But the Blue Devils must be considered candidates to regress.

ACC Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5

Florida State 4/11
Clemson 10/1
Louisville 10/1
North Carolina 10/1
Miami 12/1
Virginia Tech 12/1
Duke 20/1
Georgia Tech 25/1
Pittsburgh 40/1
Syracuse 66/1
Virginia 66/1
North Carolina State 100/1
Boston College 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1

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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.

Odds to Win ACC: +12500 at 5Dimes
Regular Season Win Total: 5.5 at Bovada

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
 
Clemson +235
Florida State +240
Miami +575
Virginia Tech +775
North Carolina +850
Georgia Tech +1050
Pittsburgh +3500
Virginia +3800
Syracuse +6500
Maryland +6700
NC State +7000
Boston College +8500
Duke +12500
Wake Forest +15000

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