This year the Belk Bowl will showcase a game between Cincinnati vs Duke and although this bowl game may merely be a blip on the radar, it’s a big deal to the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils will play in their first bowl game in 18 years in what amounts to basically a home game with the venue being Charlotte North Carolina. Duke is a basketball school so this will be a good chance for the football program to make headlines.
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Duke has stumbled losing four straight heading into this game, but a win in the Belk Bowl would assure the program a winning season. Beating the Bearcats would lock up the Blue Devils’ first winning season since that last bowl season — and give them their first bowl win since beating Arkansas in the 1961 Cotton Bowl. This is just their third bowl appearance since then. The Bearcats may not have the same type of motivation.
The Bearcats lost their head coach and are going up against Duke. It’s not the bowl battle they hoped for when the season started.
The Bearcats have the better record and there the odds makers posted a betting line of (-10) which has been bet down to as low as (-7) as kickoff approaches. The latest college football consensus reports show that the Bearcats are getting 60 percent of the betting action, which means this line is dropping due to the coaching change for the Bearcats.
Duke quarterback Sean Renfree is having a phenomenal season. Renfree is competing 66.3 percent of his passes for 2,755 yards, 18 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and will move the ball against the Bearcats. The Bearcats are seventh in overall pass defense ranking 72nd nationally. The Bearcats defense will be hard pressed to cover the trio of targets that the Blue Devils have on offense.
Conner Vernon, the ACC’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, Sophomore Jamison Crowder and Desmond Scott can spread the field and give Renfree options all over the field.
If the Bearcats want to keep the Duke offense off the field they will have to go to a ground game to control the clock. This is not the usual plan of attack for the Bearcats and the change of pace could be difficult to execute.
The Bearcats have struggled to cover the number in the postseason as they are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games.
The Blue Devils are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.
This game could be the biggest game in the history of Duke Football. The Blue Devils will give an motivated effort and get the outright win against an uninspired Bearcats team waiting for the season to end.
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