The Miami Hurricanes and Duke Blue Devils are both undefeated and both searching for some respect heading into their Week 5 clash on Tobacco Road.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Duke Blue Devils
Date and Time: Friday, September 29, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Opening College Football Odds: Miami -4.5
Miami vs. Duke TV Coverage: ESPN
It’s easy to look at Miami’s 571 yards and 46.5 points per game and think that it’s a juggernaut this season. Sure, the Canes look great on paper at the moment, but it’s not like they’ve played against a legitimate team yet. That Toledo team that “The U” beat up 52-30 is a good one by mid-major standards, but it’s not Duke or Florida State, the two teams Miami will have to face on the road in the next two weeks.
That said, Mark Walton has had himself two amazing games. He only effective played half the game against Toledo last week thanks to an ankle injury, and he still amassed well over 200 yards on the ground. For the season, Walton has 352 yards on just 27 carries – an average of 13.0 yards per carry.
That will come down for sure, as time wears on, but if Walton keeps showing explosiveness, and Malik Rosier averages 8.6 yards per pass attempt and keeps his TD/INT ratio around the 6/1 it’s at right now, this will be one of the more dangerous teams in America.
Duke is no pushover, though. The Blue Devils actually play some defense this year, and with as well as David Cutcliffe has evolved this offense over the years, this is a legitimate Top 25 team in our eyes.
The Dookies have disposed of UNC Central, Northwestern, Baylor and now North Carolina, and unlike Miami, they have a crucial road win in conference play already. Again, we’re not sticking Duke in the ACC Championship Game quite yet, but it’s off on the right foot for sure with just two more wins to snare to reach bowl eligibility.
We know that Walton can run the ball, and we know that Miami’s offensive line has been excellent against two iffy opponents this year. But let’s also not forget that Duke has the No. 7 rush defense in America, holding teams to just 75.5 yards per game on the ground.
Again, the early-season schedule helped buoy that, but the Blue Devils conceded just 3.6 yards per carry against North Carolina last week, a sure sign that they've come a long way in their front seven.
Duke is strongest defensively right up the middle, with all three of nose tackle, Mike Ramsay and linebackers Ben Humphreys and Joe Giles-Harris all playing crucial roles in slowing down the run.
Miami vs. Duke Free Picks
Is this going to be Duke’s shining moment? Two years ago here at Wallace Wade Stadium, Miami had an eight-lateral, 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the final play of the game to beat the Dookies 30-27 when there should have been a plethora of calls go against it to end the game.
That said, this Duke team feels different to us. There are several teams in the ACC that we think are underrated (or at least overlooked) at the moment, and Duke is one of them. Cutcliffe knows deep down that this isn’t a 10-win team or anything of the sorts. But winning a game against a team like Miami would mean the world. This is going to be a rude awakening for a Hurricanes outfit that has blasted through two easy foes. It’s almost a bit insulting that all of the best online sportsbooks have chosen to favor “The U.”
College Football ATS Pick: Duke +4.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Duke 31, Miami 24