The only inter-ACC Game of the weekend pits Duke against Georgia Tech in a big matchup for the Coastal division. An early loss would put the losing team in a hole that may be too hard to get out of. The Coastal division is stocked and truly a toss-up, especially if the Blue Devils come out of this with an upset win. The Yellow Jackets are an -8.5 point road favorite (at mybookie.ag).
Both of these teams are coming off losses to ranked teams, although a loss at Notre Dame was a little more respectable than losing at home to Northwestern. The Yellow Jackets will be looking for revenge in this Game after falling at home 31-25 to the Blue Devils last year, which ended Duke’s 10-Game losing streak in this matchup. It wasn’t that Tech was outplayed, they just had two interceptions that ultimately cost the Game as they outgained Duke by more than 100 yards on offense.
Duke was finally tested against Northwestern last weekend and the offense didn’t have enough to pull out the win. Quarterback Thomas Sirk looked good in his first two Games, but those were against lesser competition. against a Power 5 school, Sirk struggled, completing 24-of-39 passes for just 150 yards and a pick. The running Game had some success, but it wasn’t enough and the Wildcats, despite two picks from their quarterback, ran the ball 54 times.
The Blue Devils ran on GT last year and they should be able to again. Sirk has found room, but also running backs Shaquille Powell and Shaun Wilson will see plenty of carries. Because of that, Duke should be able to keep up on the scoreboard, although stopping Georgia Tech’s triple option isn’t likely.
The Yellow Jackets ran for 282 yards in last year’s Game and they look just as good running the ball this year with new faces behind a veteran offensive line. Quarterback Justin Thomas runs the show, but Patrick Skov (5 TDs) has been the red zone monster and Marcus Marshall (14.7 yards per carry) has broken a number of big runs. This team is seemingly never lacking options in the backfield.
The spread in this Game last year was actually only 3.5 for Tech, so it’s a bit surprising to see it so high here in Durham. The Blue Devils know they can compete with this team, Sirk will just need to take care of the ball. They may have struggled last week, but Northwestern’s defense has dominated every opponent so far, so this may be a more favorable test for Sirk in his first season as the starting quarterback.
Both teams want to bounce back from a loss, and this Game should be a hard-fought ACC battle. Duke is a home underdog and won’t go down without a fight. Both teams will focus on running the ball, which gives a lean to the under, as it is 5-1-1 in their last seven Games against each other.
The Yellow Jackets are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 overall and have covered Four of the last five meetings between these schools. The favorite is also 8-3 ATS in the last 11 matchups.
Our Pick – Duke has closed the talent gap between themselves and the rest of the ACC in the past few years. There’s some value to be had here backing the Blue Devils at home, plus the very generous spot, in a Game they could very well win straight up. This one goes to the wire. Duke +9