Rivalry game on the football field instead of the basketball court between UNC and Duke. This is one of the biggest games of the NCAAB schedule, the most anticipated rivalry game on the hardwood. While the football version of the rivalry doesn’t exactly have the same allure to it, there is still a sense of excitement tonight. UNC vs Duke on the basketball court is like Michigan vs Ohio State or Alabama vs Auburn to football. The Tar Heels, led by potential first-round draft pick, Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina are 7-2 and looking at picking up a quality bowl game next month or in January.
They are also alive and well in the race for the ACC Championship. North Carolina’s biggest win of the year came against Florida State, a last second long distance field goal to bring them a 37-35 victory. Their only losses this season came at home, a close 33-24 loss to Georgia, which was within striking distance before a touchdown run with a couple minutes remaining put it out of reach. They also have a 34-3 loss against Virginia Tech.
If Duke has anything going for themselves tonight it’s that they didn’t get blown against the Hokies. The Blue Devils didn’t win, but they stayed around for a 24-21 loss last week. North Carolina couldn’t make a game out of Virginia Tech. Duke have had a knack of sticking around against better competition. Note that they lost 38-35 to Georgia Tech and 24-14 to Louisville, with both games coming on the road. Close but not good enough for Duke, who will have to put together a nice finish to reach a bowl game. With the Blue Devils at 3-6, there is no room for error the reason of the season. We’ll see if they are able to get a big win against their rival, the UNC Tar Heels on Thursday night.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils NCAAF Betting Odds:
North Carolina -10.5(-110)
vs. Duke +10.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
North Carolina vs. Duke Pick:
Trubisky is the best quarterback in the country who nobody is talking about. Will he make it at the professional level? Well, the guy is going to get his opportunity, so we’ll see what impact he has in the NFL. Trubisky has thrown for 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions, parlayed with 2,702 yards and a completion percentage of 70.2%. Those are money in the bag kind of numbers. Better yet, this is the first season that Trubisky has had a handle of the starting job. He’s jumped right in and playing like he’s been at it for five years. He played in spot duty the last two years, passing for a total of 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. When he went in last season, he made the most of it, connecting for 6 touchdowns with no interceptions. Along with the 19 touchdown passes this season for Trubisky, he’s also rushed for 5 touchdowns.
North Carolina are 40th in the country, averaging 460 yards per game, with 34.2 points scored a game. They’ve been proficient passing the football with Trubkisy, who ranks 20th in the country with 306.8 yards per game. Their running game, though, does need some improvements, as they are 94th running the football.
The Blue Devils are not particularly good at stopping the run, allowing 177.4 yards a game. They are rather average against the pass, as they rank 48th in the nation. Duke is not up there in any national rankings, but they continue to battle, and when it comes to the point-spread that accounts for something. UNC doesn’t have one interception this season. Can you believe it? They are the only school in the FCS without a pick. Duke quarterback, Daniel Jones, is a freshman option signal caller. He can run with the ball and has already rushed for 375 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Tar Heels are 105th against the run, which may be just enough to allow Duke to hang around here. They’ve shown up big in spots this season, and I don’t see why they won’t against their archrival on Thursday night.
PICK: DUKE +10.5 (-110)