NC State vs. Duke Expert Pick and Prediction – October 14, 2023
NC STATE VS. DUKE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – October 14, 2023 — Can the Blue Devils find a way to survive without Riley Leonard? Duke lost more than a game last time out against Notre Dame, as the Blue Devils also lost their quarterback. The good news is that Leonard will return, as his injury was just a high ankle sprain, but he’s questionable against the Wolfpack.
And that means this game likely becomes a defensive struggle, as Duke has no real experience beyond Leonard at quarterback. Henry Belin is the backup, and the freshman from New York has all of eight passes in his college career. That’s not ideal against State, which had been defense-heavy all season until last week.
The Wolfpack are trying to decide their identity after benching Brennan Armstrong for MJ Morris. Morris played three games last season as a freshman, but seemed to regress last week against Marshall. Morris threw three interceptions, but made up for it with four touchdowns.
However, the Duke defense should be much tougher than the Marshall defense showed. This game could come down to who makes fewer mistakes.
(4-2 SU, 1-4-1 ATS)
(4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, October 14th at 8 p.m. EDT
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.
TV: ACC Network
Public Bets: 84% on Duke
Public Money: 97% on Duke
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of October 10th, 2023.
N.C. State vs. Duke In-Season Trends
State doesn’t usually bring its offense with it when it travels, at least not in the first half. The Wolfpack have played to the under in five of six matchups in the first half away from Raleigh, including trips to Virginia and Connecticut this season.
Related: Georgia vs. Kentucky Recap
Duke also tends to start slowly, cashing under in the first quarter in four of six games at Wallace Wade Stadium. But the Blue Devils’ defense has held up well, which has helped make up for low-scoring first halves. A perfect example came in the Clemson game, where the Blue Devils held the Tigers to seven points in the first half. Duke’s defense kept them in the game long enough for the offense to find its footing and pull away.
It could be a cool evening in the Triangle, with temperatures dipping into the mid 50s by the time this game kicks off. Wind will blow at nine miles per hour, which shouldn’t affect things too much.
It’s really a stretch to find a healthy difference maker, with both teams in a flux. Kevin Concepcion has been the most reliable pass catcher State has, but 23 catches and two scores isn’t exactly top quality from your wide receivers. With Brennan Armstrong benched, State not only has a new quarterback, but it also has no real running game.
Duke’s in the same situation. Riley Leonard might be able to play, but the Blue Devils might not want to risk him here. Beating State is important for Duke, but the Blue Devils’ biggest game on the schedule comes next week against Florida State. Duke has no chance against the Seminoles without Leonard, which means the Blue Devils might try to muddle through this week without him.
It’s hard to make a pick here given how neither team is anywhere near full strength. The best bet on the board is probably the under, as both offenses will probably struggle to get out of their own way all night long.
The teams do have two common opponents in Connecticut and Notre Dame, and Duke looked by far the stronger in both games. As long as the Blue Devils aren’t taken too far off track by changing quarterbacks, they should come out ahead here.
First Half Under 23.5