Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#113 Boston College 50.5 vs.
#114 Duke -5.5
Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 12:00pm EDT
Written by Adam Rauzino

The Duke Blue Devils host the Boston College Eagles in an ACC battle Saturday afternoon from Wallace Wade Stadium. The new-look Eagles will be chomping at the bit to return to action with a new head coach and quarterback. The Blue Devils also have a new quarterback and already played their first contest. They covered the 21.5 points spread in a 27-13 road loss to #7 Notre Dame last week. This marks the first meeting between Boston College and Duke since 2015 in a game Duke won 9-7.

Eagles Enter Season with New Coach, QB

The Boston College Eagles will be fielding a different look this season. Boston College has a new head coach in Jeff Hafley who was the former offensive coordinator at Ohio State. They also have a new quarterback after AJ Brown transferred to Oregon. Phil Jurkvoec is the new #1 quarterback. The sophomore came over in a transfer from Notre Dame. He has limited FBS experience, completing 12 of 15 passes for 220 yards with the Fighting Irish last season, however, he is a dual-threat and should make an impact.

Boston College will be relying on David Bailey after 2019 rushing leader A.J. Dillon departed to the NFL. Bailey is a big threat and collected over 800 rushing yards on an average of 5.7 yards per attempt last season. Zay Flowers is a talented receiver looking to build on a terrific freshman season that landed him 341 receiving yards.

The Eagles defense should be improved after a terrible 2019. They return a good portion of their starters after having trouble containing opponents in most games. They were one of the worst teams in the FBS against the pass in 2019.

Overall, the Eagles will be competitive but can’t be expected to post a winning record in ACC play. They were selected to finish 13th in the ACC in the preseason media poll. Boston College averaged 29 points last season, ranking them 67th overall. They allowed an average of 32.2 points, placing them 101st in the FBS.

Duke Competitive in Loss to #7 Notre Dame

The Duke Blue Devils are a team that has relied on defense for the past few seasons. The offense struggled in 2019 which led to a 5-7 season and only three wins in the ACC. That could change if QB Chase Brice can thrive with his new team. The junior quarterback spent the last two seasons as the backup in Clemson and was solid in his Duke debut last Saturday, collecting 259 passing yards against a good Notre Dame defense.

The Blue Devils' running game should produce this season. They did not generate many yards last week, however, look for a better output against an easier defense. Deon Jackson is in his senior year after recording nearly 1500 yards in 2018 to 2019. Jalon Calhoun had a very promising freshman season with 420 yards and was sharp against Notre Dame last week, bringing in 62 yards on five catches.

The Blue Devils defense was on the field frequently last season due to a poor offense and posted decent numbers, all things considered. They should have a good pass rush led by Victor Dimukeje who tallied 8.5 sacks in 2019.

Duke was voted to finish down at 12th in the 15 team ACC in the preseason media poll. The Blue Devils scored an average of only 25.2 points last year, placing them 94th overall. They conceded an average of 29.2 points, positioning them 77th in the FBS.

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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I am siding with Duke in this ACC clash. Duke has several advantages in this one. They already played last week against #7 Notre Dame and were very competitive. The Blue Devils kept the game close and were only down 17-13 after three quarters. This is Boston College’s first game of the season. They have a new coach and QB meaning it will take time to adjust with new plays and personnel.

Furthermore, Duke has former Clemson QB, Chase Brice. The junior QB was able to accumulate 259 passing yards against the Fighting Irish last week. Also, Duke has a solid defense and ranked 30th in the country against the pass in 2019. Eagles' new QB Phil Jurkovec will have trouble generating significant yards.

Prediction: Duke Blue Devils -6

Full-Game Total Pick

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I expect a low scoring game. The Boston College offense likely won’t be as productive as 2019. They have a new QB and lost their leading rusher. Duke returns plenty of starters on the defensive side and should neutralize the Eagles. The under is also 42-18-2 in the Eagles’ last 62 road games.

In addition, while I expect a solid performance from the Duke offense. They are still finding a groove as well. Playing against Notre Dame last week definitely helps matters but this is just Chase Brice’s second game. They will definitely score more than the 13 points output last week, but don’t expect a huge number. The under is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these ACC rivals.

Prediction: Under 52

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The under on the Boston College team total is a solid prop. The Blue Devils' defense has the experience and a solid pass rush as they return their top two sack leaders. Eagles’ QB Phil Jurkovec has very little in-game experience. He has only attempted 17 passes at the FBS level and this is his first start as a #1 QB. Duke’s experience on defense should lead to a tough game offensively for the Eagles.

Prediction: Boston College Team Total Under

Half-Time Side Pick

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I expect a strong start from Duke. Boston College is playing in their first game and they will be out of sync on both offense and defense as a result. I especially anticipate a slow start on offense in Phil Jurkovec’s debut. Also, Duke held Notre Dame to only 10 points last week and that was played on the road. 

Prediction: Duke -4
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.