This Friday the Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1) will host the Duke Blue Devils (2-1) in a key ACC Coastal matchup. Kickoff is set for 7:00 EST at Lane Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.

Oddsmakers opened up this line at Virginia Tech -2, but that has climbed up to the Hokies -2.5 and even -3 at some places. The total opened at 55 and has been bet down to 52.

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Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Duke vs Virginia Tech

Duke Blue Devils

Duke will be returning from their bye week looking for their third straight win after that opening season loss to Alabama. Blue Devils failed to cover in that 42-3 (+33.5) loss to the Crimson Tide, but cashed winning tickets in a 45-13 (-27.5) win over North Carolina A&T and 41-18 (-7) win at Middle Tennessee.

Duke is one of three ACC teams that have yet to play a conference game. Not a lot was expected of the Blue Devils this year. In fact, many had them picked second to last in the Coastal behind Georgia Tech.

A big reason for that was the loss of starting quarterback Daniel Jones, but the early play of senior Quentin Harris has to have people in Durham feeling a bit more optimistic. Harris is completing 73% of his attempts with a 8-2 TD-INT ratio. He’s also leading the team with 203 rushing yards, while averaging 6.0 yards/carry.

Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies are also coming back from a bye week and seeking their third straight win. Virginia Tech opened up the season with a 35-28 loss at Boston College as a 4-point favorite. A loss that looked a lot worse after the Eagles got routed at home by Kansas.

They followed up that defeat with a 31-17 win over Old Dominion, but failed to cover as a 29.5-point favorite. They fell to 0-3 ATS in a mere 24-17 win at home over Furman (trailed at the half) as a 24-point favorite.

Not only did the defense disappoint in it’s only test against BC, but the offense has not looked good. Hokies are not running the ball well. They come in averaging 3.7 yards/carry against teams that allow 4.3 yards/carry. Starting QB Ryan Willis has been sacked 7 times and thrown 4 picks.

Matchup History

Last year the Hokies won 31-14 as a 7-point road dog against then No. 22 Duke. Willis outdueled Jones in that one, throwing for 332 yards and 3 scores. Neither team ran the ball well, as the Hokies had just 81 yards rushing and the Blue Devils had just 71. It was Virginia Tech’s third straight win in the series. It also marked the 5th time in the last 6 meetings that the road team won outright.

NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Duke +2.5

Prior to the season I would have been all over Virginia Tech laying less than a field goad at home against Duke, but this line just doesn’t sit right with me. It feels like the books are begging you to take the Hokies here. For me it’s the Blue Devils or pass in this one.

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I think there’s a lot more wrong with this Virginia Tech team than people realize. I just look at the amount of pressure that Harris has been under and how the running game has struggled and that tells me the offensive line is not very good. I think that offense will struggle against Duke in this one. Blue Devils only gave up 145 rushing yards on 42 attempts (3.45 yards/carry) to Alabama.

The other thing that has stemmed from the poor offensive line play is turnovers. Virginia Tech turned it over 5 times in the opener against BC. They also had 2 against both Old Dominion and Furman.

Another big factor in why I would lean towards Duke here is Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe. He’s in his 13th year with the team and has gone 13-4 ATS as a road underdog of 7 points or less and a perfect 7-0 ATS as a road dog of 3-points or less. Cutcliffe also has gone 14-5 ATS at Duke after a bye week.

We also got a long-term system backing a fade of Virginia Tech in this spot. Home teams with a line of +3 to -3 who have a turnover margin of -1.5/game or worse are just 30-68 (30.6%) ATS going back to 1992. They 2-14 ATS in this spot the last 5 seasons and 0-8 over the last 3. Give me Duke +2.5.