NC State comes into its home tilt against Duke as outright winners of two straight games when they were catching points. The Wolfpack now find themselves laying 4.5 to the Blue Devils in a game that opened at an even 5.0 out in Las Vegas. It’s interesting to see the expert college football picks and Duke vs NC State predictions shift the line slightly in Duke’s favor, given the early-season trajectories that these two teams have taken.
Duke at NC State Predictions
Odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook
Duke earned its first win of the 2020 campaign last week against Syracuse, bringing their record to 1-4. The Blue Devils have struggled mightily with turnovers in the early portion of the season, coughing the ball up a nation-leading 19 times, including 4 giveaways in their winning effort last week. That’s good for a turnover margin of -11. Fortunately, Syracuse had their own fair share of miscues last week, but Duke will need to protect the football better against an NC State defense whose success is predicated upon its pass rush. On the positive side, the Blue Devils have the backs to wear down the Wolfpack defensive front. Deon Jackson (171) and Mataeo Durant (161) combined for 332 rushing yards last week.
Aside from the turnover issues, another thing North Carolina State has the potential to exploit in this game is Duke’s suspect defense. Despite the Blue Devils having their own success in rushing the passer, they are still giving up 30.6 points per game. Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary has looked sharp, and tailback Zonovan Knight is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. The NC State defense has forced 5 turnovers on the season and should be able to corral a few more on Saturday. For my money, the Wolfpack (3-1 ATS) are still being disrespected by the betting market. In the first football meeting between the in-state rivals since 2013 (incredible in its own right), I’ll take the short home favorite.