Temple Owls vs. Duke Blue Devils
Date and Time: Thursday, December 27, 2018, 1:30 p.m. ET
Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Opening CFB Odds: Temple -3, 56.5
Temple vs. DukeTV Coverage: ESPN
These two teams are fundamentally different. The Owls coming into play having put an excellent finish on their season with some key wins down the stretch. Duke, meanwhile, struggled.
As for their styles of play, Temple’s a strong defensive team, particularly against the pass and bring a run-first offense to the field. They’ll need to get Anthony Russo to move the ball in the air enough to open running lanes for Ryquell Armstead, keeping the Duke defense honest.
Russo really did make a difference to the team this year. He worked his way into the starting lineup in Week 3 and since then, this team really took off. Russo isn’t a great quarterback, but he’s been good enough and that’s key. After all, Armstead has a good matchup in this one against a Duke team that’s been vulnerable against the rush. Duke is allowing just 197.1 passing yards a game, but have allowed 222.3 rushing yards, ranking No.116 in the nation.
On the other side, the Blue Devils’ biggest offensive threat comes in the air which doesn’t match up well for Duke. That said, this could be the last college hurrah for Daniel Jones under center as well as top targets T.J. Rahming and Jonathan Lloyd. All three could be looking to leave an impact, particularly Jones who is likely to enter the NFL draft.
The Blue Devils come into this game having lost back-to-back games and four of their last six. They’re 2-4 ATS in that time as well. The offense for Duke really gave out the last two games as the team scored just 13 points combined in those two contests, allowing a staggering 94 in the process. They’ve been destroyed.
That’s not a good trend going into the bowl season, particularly when they’re up against a Temple team playing at their peak.
While the Blue Devils have struggled, the Owls won three straight to close out the year and posted an 8-2 SU and ATS record in their last 10 games. They dominated UConn in their last game, but also managed wins over USF, Houston and Cincinnati down the stretch.
Matchup To Watch
Daniel Jones is a very good quarterback and has battled through injury to amass 2,251 passing yards while adding a bit with his legs at the same time.
Jones put together a god 17:7 touchdown to interception ratio and added a couple more scores on the ground. His connections with Rahming and Lloyd give the Blue Devils a formidable passing attack, but that attack will be tested against a stout Temple pass defense that has allowed just 166.3 passing yards a game, the seventh fewest in the nation.
The Owls are a bit vulnerable defensively against the run. The Blue Devils can run a bit and Jones is certainly part of that attack as well, but to really have success, Duke will need Jones to lead the way with his arm, making this matchup of Jones and the passing attack for Duke against the strong defense of the Owls the matchup to watch in this showdown.
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The total has dropped a bit since the opening line as early bettors took advantage of a high total. Look for this game to still end up under the current total, but it will be much closer here. As for the spread, give the points and take the Owls to win.
Temple quietly had a great season. UCF stole the show in the AAC, but Temple was the clear No.2 team in the conference and finished the season strong while the Blue Devils limped to the finish line. Duke is healthier now, but there’s still concern about their finish given the lopsided nature of the scores.
Look for this game to be closer than both these teams played to end the year, but, in the end, Temple’s strong pass defense should hold Jones at bay and allow the Owls to get the win in this one as they should win by more than a touchdown.
CFB ATS Betting Pick: Temple -3 & Under 54 at BookMaker.eu
CFB Score Prediction: Owls 30 – Blue Devils 21
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