Duke Blue Devils vs North Carolina Tar Heels Game Preview and Prediction - 10/02/2021

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021
Game Time: 12:00 pm ET, Saturday, October 2, 2021
Venue:  Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Where to Watch:  ESPN2


Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Point Spread:  Duke +20, UNC -20; Over/Under:  72.5 points
Bet365:  Point Spread:  Duke +20, UNC -20; Over/Under:  72.5 points
BetMGM:  Point Spread:  Duke +19.5, UNC -19.5; Over/Under:  73 points

Season Record

Duke Blue Devils:  3-1 (4th place, ACC Coastal)
North Carolina Tar Heels:  2-2 (6th place, ACC Coastal)
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Duke Blue Devils vs North Carolina Tar Heels Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
Duke Blue Devils:  won at home on Sep. 25 against the Kansas Jayhawks 52-33.
North Carolina Tar Heels:  lost on a neutral site on Sep. 25 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 45-22.

Duke Blue Devils Analysis

Duke University is coming into this college football game with a 3-1 record overall but they are 0-1 in their road games this season where they will be playing this game. This will be their first conference matchup of the season as well and it will be an Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal division showdown. Their season started a little rocky with a loss to the Charlotte 49ers, getting upset in that game, but they quickly recovered getting 3 straight wins against the North Carolina A&T Aggies, the Northwestern Wildcats, and against Kansas in their last game. Gunnar Holmberg had a solid game in their last one as he completed 22/29 passes for 328 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Their run game had a great day as Mataeo Durant led the team in rushing with 124 yards and 1 touchdown on 21 carries. Holmberg also carried the ball 17 times himself picking up 88 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. Jake Bobo had a good day as well as he led the receivers with 105 yards on 7 receptions. Shaka Heyward led the defense with 4 solo tackles, 5 assisted ones, and 1 interception while Jaylen Stinson was right behind him with 4 solo tackles and 4 assisted ones. Nate Thompson also came away with an interception in that game but it was Ben Frye who recorded the only sack in the game for the defense. They have scored 155 points in their first 4 games and they have allowed their opponents to score 104 points against them. Their offense is averaging 548.3 YPG while their defense is allowing 422.3 YPG. 

North Carolina Tar Heels Analysis

UNC is coming into this game with a 2-2 record overall and they are 2-0 in their home games this season where they will be in this game. This will be their 4th conference game of the year on their football schedule and they are already 1-2 in their conference games this season. They were able to collect their wins against the Georgia State Panthers and the Virginia Cavaliers but their 2 losses both came against their conference opponents, the Virginia Tech Hokies in their season opener and the GT Yellow Jackets in their last game. Sam Howell still had a good game in their last one as he completed 25/39 passes for 306 yards and 2 touchdowns. They did not get much of a run game going though, as Ty Chandler led the team in rushing with 48 yards on 17 carries. Emery Simmons did have a nice day for the receiving corps as he led the team with 110 yards receiving on 3 receptions. Kamari Morales had 7 catches for 66 yards and 1 TD while Josh Downs also had 1 TD and 53 yards receiving but led the team in receptions with 8. Jeremiah Gemmel led the defense with 5 solo tackles and 3 assisted ones. Myles Murphy had the lone sack in the game for his team while no one on their defense came away with an interception. They have scored 150 points in their first 4 games and they have allowed their opponents to score 118 points against them. Their offense is averaging 507.3 YPG while their defense is allowing 383.3 YPG. 


Duke vs North Carolina Prediction

UNC has not been looking good on defense recently. They have allowed their opponents to score almost 40 points against them in each of their last 2 games. That is very dangerous against a Duke team that has been scoring points all season, putting up almost 30 points in each of their 4 games so far. They have a better mindset coming into this game as they have the positive 3-1 record and have a shot at the conference with that 0-0 clean slate record. UNC is going to be panicking here as they are clinging to a winning record at 2-2 and are on their back foot in the conference down 1-2 already. They cannot lose another conference game and that pressure will keep building on them. The Duke Blue Devils football team is pressure free here so all of this combined is a big recipe for disaster for the Tar Heels in this game. Duke will stay competitive and keep fighting until the end of the game no matter what so the best bet to place here is on them to cover the spread as it will be a close game.
Duke North Carolina Prediction:  Our NCAAF Pick for Saturday, October 2, 2021 (12:00 pm ET start time) is UNC 43 Duke 35.
Don't miss our champion handicappers free picks and expert football picks today.  And if you enjoyed this Duke Blue Devils North Carolina Tar Heels prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our weekly NCAA predictions and previews.

NCAAF Betting Trends

Duke Blue Devils: 130-114 ATS as an underdog. 37-53 O/U in road games.
North Carolina Tar Heels: 63-47 ATS off a loss against a conference rival. 65-71 O/U as a favorite.

Key Injuries

Duke Blue Devils:  M. Smith (TE) out for season - Knee injury.
North Carolina Tar Heels:  S. Duck (DB) Out indefinitely - Lower Body injury. C. Hood (RB) Ques Sat - Upper Body injury. T. Hopper (LB) Ques Sat - Upper Body injury.

Players to Watch

Duke Blue Devils: Mataeo Durant is one player to watch here. He leads his team in touchdowns scored with 8 and he seems to be the go to guy on the ground when in the red zone. Look for him to get into the end zone here as they keep feeding him the ball.
North Carolina Tar Heels: Josh Downs is one player to watch in this game. He leads his team in receiving yards and in touchdowns scored. He will need to be a big part of the offense here if they want to win this game so look for him to get a lot of balls thrown his way in this one.

Notable Quotes

"We've got a lot of weapons and we've got to continue to grow and get better. I think our offense is playing at an extremely high level." - Head coach David Cutcliffe on the way his team is performing in games this season.
"I'm really, really disappointed in the way we played. Sims came in and did a tremendous job in the second half. We couldn't stop him." - Mack Brown on the way his defense played in their loss to GT in their last game.

Starting Lineups

Duke Blue Devils
WR Bobo, Jake 
WR Pancol, Eli 
WR Calhoun, Jalon 
TE Marwede, Jake 
QB Holmberg, Gunnar 
RB Durant, Mataeo 
RB       Waters, Jordan 
North Carolina Tar Heels
WR Simmons, Emery 
WR Green, Antoine 
WR Downs, Josh 
TE Walston, Garrett 
QB Howell, Sam 
RB Chandler, Ty 

Statistical Leaders (Stats)

Duke Blue Devils
Passing: G. Holmberg (1140)
Rushing: M. Durant (522)
Receiving: J. Bobo (392)
Touchdowns: M. Durant (8)
Sacks: L. Young IV (1)
Tackles: L. Young IV (10)
North Carolina Tar Heels
Passing: S. Howell (1173)
Rushing: T. Chandler (370)
Receiving: J. Downs (452)
Touchdowns: J. Downs (5)
Sacks: K. Rucker (2.5)
Tackles: J. Conley (15)
Duke Blue Devils: David Cutcliffe (14th season)
North Carolina Tar Heels: Mack Brown (3rd season)

Weather Forecast

81 degrees F partly cloudy, 70% humidity, 0% chance of rain, up to 5 mph wind speeds S.

Amedeus Mastrangelo

About the Author:

Amedeus Mastrangelo has been heavily wagering on all sports for years and plays just about everything, including sides, totals, favorites, underdogs, against the spread, alternative spreads, first half, second half, player props, and futures. The bottom line is, if Mastrangelo can see an edge in any way shape or form, then he's going to take advantage.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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