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Duke Looking to Earn Coveted Spot in ACC Title Game

Duke is 9-2 on the season and controls its own destiny as a win Saturday over in-state rival North Carolina earns the Blue Devils a coveted spot in the ACC Title game.  However, North Carolina has dominated this series (21-2 SU since 1990) and takes the field with legitimate revenge after suffering a 33-30 loss at Duke last year which ultimately cost the Tar Heels the Coastal Division title.  Let’s also note that Duke is a money-burning 1-22 SU in season-finales and gas been outgained in three of its last four games.

Fundamental Analysis:

North Carolina possesses an explosive offense that is averaging 32.8 points per game at 8.4 yards per pass attempt and 6.0 yards per play this season.  More importantly, the Tar Heels are averaging 42.2 points per game at home at 9.8 yards per pass play, 6.7 yards per play and 11.9 yards per point. Overall, head coach Larry Fedora’s squad is 1.3 yards per pass play and 0.5 yards per play better than average offensively in 2013, which is certainly good enough to exploit a soft Duke defense that is 0.1 yards per play worse than average.

North Carolina Offense vs. Duke Defense:

  • +1.7 yards per pass attempt advantage
  • +0.6 yards per play advantage overall

North Carolina’s offense has hit its stride as the Tar Heels are averaging a remarkable 53.0 points over the last three games, including 5.7 yards per rush play, 9.5 yards per pass play, 7.3 yards per play and 9.2 yards per point. Meanwhile, Duke is yielding 28.4 points per game on 435 yard total yards to conference opponents this season.  On the other side of the ball, North Carolina possesses an underrated stop unit that is 0.4 yards per rush play, 0.5 yards per pass attempt and 0.5 yards per play better than average.  Over its last three games, North Carolina has limited opponents to a mere 3.2 yards per rush play, 5.7 yards per pass play and 4.5 yards per play.  Overall, North Carolina possesses a slight advantage defensively when Duke has the ball.

North Carolina Defense vs. Duke Offense:

  • +0.0 yards per rush play advantage
  • +0.2 yards per pass attempt advantage
  • +0.2 yards per play advantage overall

It’s also very telling that Duke is losing the stats by -8.0 yards per game in the second half of the season, whereas the Tar Heels are winning the stats by +117 yards per game over the same period of time.  I also like the fact that North Carolina is defeating foes by 18.0 points per game at home this season, whereas the Blue Devils are -49.0 yards per game in conference play.  With North Carolina standing at a perfect 6-0 ATS in the second half of the season, take the underrated home favorite to avenge last year’s devastating loss.

Technician’s Corner: College football home favorites off a win by 50 or more points who won eight or more games the previous season are 22-2 SU and 17-7 ATS from Game Eight out, including 5-0 SU and ATS when playing with revenge.