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Belk Bowl betting preview and pick

Coming off its best regular season in almost two decades 6-6 Duke challenges 9-3 Cincinnati in something called the Belk Bowl Thursday, Dec. 27 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (6:30 pm ET, ESPN).

Early Belk Bowl betting odds were listing the Blue Devils, playing in their first bowl since 1994, as seven-point underdogs vs. the Bearcats, who finished in a four-way tie atop the Big East.

If you believe in trends, try this one on for size. OVERs and UNDERs have alternated all 11 Belk Bowls since the bowl’s inception. And an UNDER is due in 2012. [ More Belk Bowl betting preview stats and trends ]

View Cincinnati vs Duke Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Bettors going with the Blue Devils in this game found them listed as 10-point underdogs on the betting line at Sportsbook.ag earlier in the week. The total was 59 earlier over at Bovada, check for updates and bowl special offers.

Cincinnati Bowl History

YearBowlTeam1ScoreTeam2ScoreTeam2 LineATS win
1997Humanitarian BowlCincinnati35Utah State191.5CINCIN
2000Motor City BowlCincinnati14Marshall253.5MARSHL
2001Motor City BowlCincinnati16Toledo23-5TOLEDO
2002New Orleans BowlCincinnati19North Texas247.5NTEXAS
2004Fort Worth BowlMarshall14Cincinnati32-1CINCIN
2006International BowlWestern Michigan24Cincinnati27-7W.MICH
2007Papajohns.com BowlSouthern Miss21Cincinnati31-11S.MISS
2008Orange BowlVirginia Tech20Cincinnati7-2.5VTECH
2009Sugar BowlCincinnati24Florida51-12.5FLA
2011Liberty BowlCincinnati31Vanderbilt24-2CINCIN

Duke Bowl History - none since 1995
How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Duke's No. 45-ranked offense (31.3 PPG) against a Bearcats defense that ranks No. 12 at 17.2 PPG. The Blue Devils passing attack has averaged 277.6 yards per game, more than the Bearcats give up through the air (243.5 YPG on average).

In comparing defenses, the Bearcats own the league's No. 26-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 131.6 yards per game when on the road. Duke, on the other hand, rates No. 85 this week in generating rushing yards at home.

Cincinnati was a 34-17 winner in its last match on the road against Connecticut. They covered the 3.5-point spread as favorites, while the total score of 51 sent OVER bettors to the payout window. In their last game, the Bearcats were Week 14 winners, coming out on top of the Huskies by a score of 34-17.

Duke was a 52-45 loser in its last match at home against Miami. They failed to cover the 6-point spread as underdogs, while the total score of 97 sent OVER bettors to the payout window. In Duke's last outing, Sean Renfree threw for 432 yards in a losing cause against the Hurricanes, 52-45 at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Cincinnati Bearcats Trends:
When playing in December are 8-2
When playing on grass are 6-4
After being outgained are 8-2
When favored on the road are 9-1

Duke Blue Devils Trends:
When playing in December are 0-1
When playing on grass are 4-6
After being outgained are 2-8
When an underdog at home are 1-9

A few Bearcats at Blue Devils trends to consider:
Cincinnati is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Duke's last 8 games
Duke is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
Duke is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games