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Miami

vs.

Duke

College Football

Free Pick

9/29/17

This game is probably a bit more interesting than Miami wanted at this point. With only two games under its belt, the Hurricanes open up ACC play with a trip to undefeated Duke on Friday night. The Blue Devils are coming off a nice win over UNC, but still are home underdogs here. The ‘Canes opened as -5.5 point road favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

When these teams met last year in the final game of the regular season, it was a shootout that Miami scored 30 straight points in and won 40-21. If it weren’t for a couple long touchdowns to David Njoku, who is now in the NFL, this game would’ve been much closer. Of course, Brad Kaaya was also the quarterback for Miami and he’s gone as well after throwing for 396 yards and four TDs in the win.

In place of Kaaya, Malik Rosier has done a fine job with six TDs in two games, but beating up on Bethune Cookman and Toledo isn’t the same as facing a team from the ACC, especially on the road. To add to the intrigue of this game is that Rosier’s only other career start came in 2015 when Miami won at Duke 30-27 with the help of the wild eight-lateral kickoff return. It’s likely not many from Duke forgot about that game, especially with Rosier the starting QB again.

To help Rosier, Miami’s running game has been unstoppable in the early going, averaging 9.8 yards per carry with Mark Walton (352 yards) leading the way. Again, the previous defenses they’ve seen can’t be compared to that of Duke. The Blue Devils have been extremely impressive on both sides of the ball, from holding Northwestern to 17 points a few weeks ago to keeping UNC to 17 points last weekend. This is going to be a much different test for Rosier.

There are similar questions on the other side of the ball for Miami as Duke moved the ball fairly easily last year as Daniel Jones threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Jones hasn't been needed has much in the early games as the ground game has done everything for Duke. That may change in this one if Miami can score early. Either way, Shaun Wilson and Brittain Brown have each rushed for more than 300 yards on at least 5.9 yards per carry. Top receiver T.J. Rahming could be a pain for Miami’s DBs again after catching 10 balls for over 100 yards in last year’s meeting.

This game was closer than the score last year and now Miami has a lot of new faces on the offensive side. Playing in Durham, things won’t be as easy for the Hurricanes against a team that is hungry to beat them after how the last few seasons have gone. Behind Jones and a capable ground game, Duke should be able to keep up on the scoreboard and that should be reason enough to take the Blue Devils as a home underdog by more than three points. Duke +6.5

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