The Baylor Bears go for their first win of the season this weekend when they visit the Duke Blue Devils. Kickoff is set for 12:30 EST on Saturday, September 16 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. The game can be seen on the ACC Network.
Oddsmakers have Duke as a 14-point home favorite. Betting thus far has leaned heavily on the Blue Devils, who originally opened as a 10.5-point favorite. The over/under for the game is 58.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 3 betting odds and links to game previews.
Baylor vs Duke Vegas Preview & Game Predictions
The Blue Devils have looked good so far this season. It was easy to dismiss an opening week blowout of North Carolina Central, but after a convincing 41-17 win over Northwestern last week, David Cutcliffe once again looks like he has a winning team on his hands after a down season in 2016.
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones has been the biggest difference maker early in the season. He’s completed 68% of his passes through the first two games and threw for over 300 yards against a solid Northwestern defense last week. Jones has also proven to be a threat with his legs, finding the end zone three times on the ground.
Meanwhile, this season has been a disaster for Baylor. First, the Bears experienced a humiliating loss to FCS opponent Liberty in their season opener. Things got worse last week when Baylor suffered another home loss at the hands of UTSA. Jim Grobe did a great job of stabilizing the program last season. But former Temple coach Matt Rhule is having trouble finding his footing during his first year in Waco.
After just two games, Rhule is ready to make a change at quarterback. Arizona grad transfer Anu Solomon is being replaced by sophomore Zach Smith, who started the second half of last season.
Vegas Free NCAAF Betting Pick: Duke -14
This game has blowout written all over it. Some teams would have a let down after a big win, knowing that a team’s that’s been struggling is coming to town. But Cutcliffe is a good coach, and he’ll make sure his team takes Baylor seriously and is prepared to play. The result will be another one-sided win for the Blue Devils.
Baylor has some talented players offensively, but with Rhule tweaking the scheme, not all the pieces are fitting into place right now. The Bears managed just 274 yards of offense against UTSA last week, well below what we’ve come to expect from Baylor.
Smith brings some experience as he takes over for Solomon. However, Smith struggled to avoid turnovers and lead the Bears to wins last season, so there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to turn Baylor’s season around. With Duke holding Northwestern to less than 200 yards and forcing three turnovers last week, Smith has a tall task ahead of him.
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The Bears may need their defense to keep them in this game, which isn’t exactly Baylor’s style. To be fair, they held UTSA to just 17 points, but they also gave up 48 points against Liberty. Baylor’s defense is also adjusting to a new coaching staff, so growing pains should be expected. Duke’s offense put up over 500 yards of offense last week and has a quarterback who’s coming into his own, so this isn’t exactly a matchup that’s in Baylor’s favor.
Unless something suddenly clicks for Baylor, the Bears will be fighting an uphill battle all day against Duke. The Blue Devils looked like the real deal last week against Northwestern. I expect them to have another convincing win against Baylor this week.