Belk Bowl Odds
The Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) will battle it out with the Duke Blue Devils (6-6) Thursday, Dec. 27 at 6:30 PM ET in the Belk Bowl, which will take place at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Oddsmakers have listed Cincinnati as a seven-point favorite and have set the total at 58.5.
Why Cincinnati Covers
The Blue Devils enter this game ice cold. They finished the regular season with losses in each of their last four games and these losses came by an average of 25.5 points. It is also worth noting that they went 0-4 against the spread in these contests.
While Duke struggled down the stretch, Cincinnati had it going. It won four of its last five games both straight up and against the spread. These four wins came by an average of 17.3 points.
Duke really struggled this season when playing away from home. It went 1-4 straight up and against the spread in games played outside Durham. These four losses came by an average of 29.3 points. One of these defeats was a 41-20 loss to Virginia Tech. Keep in mind that Cincinnati defeated the Hokies 27-24 this season.
The Blue Devils have really struggled away from home against good offensive teams like Cincinnati that average 6.25 yards or more per play. Consider that they are on a 0-6 against the spread slide in such spots and have lost by an average score of 41.2 to 12.2 in these six instances.
While the Cincinnati offense is pretty solid, it is also worth mentioning that the defense ranks 12th in the country with just 17.2 points allowed per game. It is significant that the Bearcats held each of the last four opponents to 17 points or less considering they are on a 13-3 against the spread run in road/neutral field contests after giving up 17 points or less in two straight games.
The Duke defense isn’t nearly as solid. The Blue Devils rank 106th in nation in total defense with 462.1 yards allowed per game and 105th in scoring defense with 35.0 points allowed per contest.
It should also be noted that Duke hasn’t been a reliable underdog. In fact, it is just 2-6 against the spread when catching points this season.
Why Duke Covers
The Duke defense leaves plenty to be desired, but Cincinnati hasn’t done a good job of taking advantage of poor defensive teams. In fact, the Bearcats are on a 0-7 against the spread slide in road/neutral field games versus teams that give up 34.0 points or more per game. They have lost to these opponents by an average score of 36.9 to 27.4.
Coach David Cutcliffe has done a great job of turning around the Duke football program, and he was rewarded with an extension as a result. It is worth noting that teams headed up by Cutcliffe are 22-9 against the spread all-time in road/neutral site games versus teams that have a winning record. His teams have more than held their own in these contests, losing them by only 5.0 points on average.
Duke certainly has more continuity at the top entering this contest as Cincinnati’s players must deal with the departure of Butch Jones.
The Blue Devils are a reliable 5-1 against the spread in their last six non-conference contests. It is also worth noting that Cincinnati is 1-4 against the number in its last five Bowl games.
I have picked Cincinnati to win this game. Click here to see who I like to win the rest of the bowls. Also, be sure to check out who Jack Jones, Brandon Lee, Carolina Sports and Vegas Top Cappers have winning the Belk Bowl.