The school’s playing in the ACC Championship game has already been decided but that’s not going to stop the rest of the ACC teams from trying to win out the rest of the season. Two of those teams looking to continue their winning ways are Duke and Pitt, both teams enter this week on winning streaks and already have clinched bowl eligibility. We’ll preview the game and then go over how to attack this game from a betting standpoint.
The Duke Blue Devils come into this week on a three-game winning streak and with a 7-3 record. Dukes’ offense has been one of the best in the country and is led by their running attack. Entering this week the Blue Devils are averaging 32 points per game along with 201.8 rushing yards a game which is tied for 20th in the country.
Duel-threat quarterback Riley Leonard leads the team in rushing yards with 624 and has rushed for 10 touchdowns to go along with his 13 passing touchdowns. Leonard and running back Jordan Waters have been an incredibly difficult duo for defenses to stop this season. It’ll be an interesting match-up between this duo and the Duke offense against a Pitt defense 10th in the country in average rushing yards allowed per game.
This Pitt defense has done a good job carrying the team when the offense has struggled with their inconsistencies. The Panthers' defense has allowed single-digit points to be scored in their last two games and opened last week's game against Virginia with two straight pick-sixes.
Offensively it’s hard to know what you’ll see from the Panthers on a week-to-week basis, at times they’ve been able to hang a crooked number, and other times they struggle to score 20 points. Israel Abanikanda has been the focal point for this offense as the running back has rushed for 1207 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. Similar to Pitt’s defense the Blue Devils' defensive strength is stopping the run so it’ll be a game full of strength vs strength.
The Pitt Panthers are currently -7.5 point favorites at home but my best play for this game is taking Duke as the underdog. The Blue Devils are 6-4 ATS this season and I think they can cover the number this weekend in Pittsburgh.
While the Panthers' offense has been one-dimensional all season the Blue Devils have the option to switch up their offensive game plan and rely on Leonard’s arm instead of just his legs. Duke has the chance to keep the game close even if they fall behind because of Leonard’s dual-threat ability.
I think Pitt is getting a little too much respect with this number and the fact that Duke is getting the hook with the .5 at the end of the number makes me feel comfortable rolling with them as the underdog. Pitt’s rushing attack is certainly hard to stop but if the Blue Devils can limit Abanikanda and force the Panthers to throw it more than they would like to then this should be a game decided by a touchdown or less.