Duke Football Predictions

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Duke is coming off one of its most successful seasons since the early 90′s. The Blue Devils finished the regular season at 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC, earning them a spot in their first bowl game since 1994. Duke would go on to lose to Cincinnati 34-48 in the Belk Bowl to finish up at 6-7.

Head coach David Cutcliffe deserves a lot of the credit. He’s really done a fantastic job of turning this program around in his five seasons in Durham. Cutcliffe will have his work cut out for him in 2013. While the Blue Devils return 14 starters, they lose their key offensive player in quarterback Sean Renfree along with their top two tacklers on defense.

One of the big reasons Duke was able to get a bowl game last year, was the fact that they finished +2 in the turnover department. In the two previous seasons they Blue Devils were -10 and -11 respectively. With the loss of an experienced quarterback, there’s a good chance turnovers could be a big problem in 2013. You also can’t ignore the fact that two of their three conference wins came by seven-points or less and they finished last in the ACC at -140.5 ypg.

Last Season
ACC (Coastal)
Record
ATS Record
Over/Under
Points For
Points Against
5th
6-7
6-7
10-2
31.5
36.0
Key Numbers for 2013
Returning Starters
Returning to Offense
Returning to Defense
4 Year Recruiting Rank
Strength of Schedule
14
7
7
2.04
62nd
85th
Head Coach David Cutcliffe
Overall
ATS
Home
Home ATS
Road
Road ATS
71-74
72-69-3
43-36
37-40-1
24-36
31-27-2
Bowl Games
Bowl Games ATS
Off of a Bye
Off of a Bye ATS
Off of a Loss
Off of a Loss ATS
4-2
4-2
8-12
9-11
28-40
34-31-3
2013 Schedule
2013 Duke Blue Devils Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
8/31 NC Central
-31
1
9/7 @ Memphis
-7.5
0.73
9/14 Georgia Tech
+10
0.23
9/21 Pittsburgh
-3
0.56
9/28 Troy
-10
0.77
10/12 Navy
-1
0.50
10/19 @ Virginia
+7.5
0.26
10/26 @ Virginia Tech
+17
0.00
11/9 NC State
-2
0.56
11/16 Miami
+8.5
0.29
11/23 @ Wake Forest
+3
0.44
11/30 @ North Carolina
+14.5
0.
Estimated Wins: 5.34

The schedule is favorable in the first half of the season for the Blue Devils. Duke is expected to be favored in five of their first six games. The only exception is a home game against what figures to be a very good Georgia Tech team. At the same time, the only sure win in the bunch is the season-opener vs North Carolina Central. A road game at Memphis, and a trio of home games against Pittsburgh, Troy and Navy all figure to be very competitive games.

If the Blue Devils are going to have any shot at getting back to a bowl game, they have to take advantage of the home games in the first half. After playing five of their first six at home, Duke will close out the season with four of six on the road.

They also have to host Miami, who is the favorite to win the Coastal in 2013. Road games vs Virginia and Wake Forest are both winnable, but Duke is a mere-8-18 away from home in five seasons under Cutcliffe.

Duke does catch a break by avoiding the top teams out of the Atlantic in Clemson and Florida State, but in order for them to match last year’s three conference wins they must beat both Pittsburgh and NC State at home and then pull off an upset on the road.

Odds
Regular Season Win Total
ACC Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
5.5
100 to 1
1,500 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Season Predictions

Duke’s ability to put points on the scoreboard was the only reason they were able to win six games in 2012. Defensively this team went from allowing 31.2 ppg in 2011 to giving up 36.0 in 2012. I believe the loss of Renfree will be too much for this team to overcome. Renfree left as the No. 3 passer in school history and set a school-record with a 67.3 completion percentage in his senior season. The expectation is for Duke to transition into a more zone read offense with more quarterback runs, but in the end the offense won’t come close to matching last year’s numbers.

I still think the Blue Devils are going to be a competitive football team, but I look for them to come up just short in making it back to a bowl game. I like Duke’s chances of going 3-1 in non-conference play, with the lone loss coming at home to Navy. I also look for them to grab two conference wins. The most likely scenario is for the Blue Devils to beat both Pittsburgh and NC State at home, but I could also see them losing one of those two and getting a road win at either Virginia or Wake Forest.

If the defense doesn’t show some improvements and they struggle to get productivity out of the quarterback position, Duke could end up being a strong team to fade against the spread in 2013.

2013 Projections
ACC (Coastal)
ACC Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
6th
2-6
5-7
Under (5.5)
Duke Football Resources
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Coastal
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