December 26, 2017
There is one pick today.
Take Northern Illinois +6 spread (buy the half point) against Duke for 3% of the bankroll.
The Duke Blue Devils may be the more well-known team in this contest, however, we believe the oddsmakers have made a huge mistake in valuing this spread as these two teams are much more evenly match than the odds indicate. Duke severely struggled midway through the season with 6 consecutive defeats before winning their final two games to become bowl eligible. In those two games, Duke was certainly impressive, however, we believe those contests were more the exception and not necessarily the rule. Prior to the big outing against the Demon Deacons, QB Daniel Jones had passed for more than 200 yards only twice in his seven previous games, and is a big reason why the Blue Devils ranked last in the ACC in passer efficiency rating (110.3) and 12th in scoring offense (25.8 points per game). In this contest they will also have to contend with an extremely stout Northern Illinois defense.
The Huskies enter this contest ranked in the top 25 in FBS in nine defensive categories, including first in tackles for loss (106), second in sacks (41), 11th in rushing defense (112.3 yards per game) and 18th in total defense (328 yards per game). They are led by Sutton Smith, the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first Huskie since 1993 to be named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America first team. Smith leads the FBS in sacks (14), tackles for loss (28.5), pressures (73) and defensive touchdowns (two) - all school records. Given how badly Daniel Jones has struggled at the helm for a majority of the season, the Huskies defense should be able to contain an already mediocre offense tonight.
While Jones has struggled, the Huskies may have a budding star of their own under center in Marcus Childers. Childers, the MAC Freshman of the Year, took over the reins in early October after Ryan Graham suffered an elbow injury in Week 1 and Daniel Santacaterina battled turnover issues. Childers completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 1,440 yards with 15 touchdowns (against five interceptions) and picked up an additional 454 rushing yards with five more TDs on the ground. Childers could prove to be the wildcard in this matchup if the Duke defense fails to account for him in the backfield.
The Duke offensive line have had their fair share of problems this season and are 100th in the nation in tackles for loss allowed which makes this an extremely bad matchup for the Blue Devils. The Huskies are also no strangers in playing at Ford Field having played in the MAC Championship on this field from 2010-2015. The Huskies should be the more motivated team ahead of this contest, once again getting their chance to prove themselves against a Power-5 opponent. The Huskies defense should keep this game close, giving the offense a chance to steal the outright win at the end.
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