NCAA Football Picks ATS: Northwestern Wildcats vs. Duke Blue Devils

Justin Jackson is averaging over four yards per carry on 50 attempts this year.
Justin Jackson is averaging over four yards per carry on 50 attempts this year.

Northwestern vs. Duke
Time: 12:30 PM Sat, Sept 19, 2015
Line: DUK -4
M/L: DUK -190; NW +165
Total: 48

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

Northwestern pulled a 16-6 shocking win over then-No. 21 Stanford in Week 1 and it blanked Eastern Illinois 41-0 in Week 2. This week the Wildcats will travel to face ACC opponent Duke in a game that oddsmakers at Bovada are favoring the Blue Devils by 4-points with an over/under of 48.

QB Clayton Thorson of Northwestern has thrown 23 of 40 for 257 yards with a 6.43 yard per attempt average. He has a passer rating of 119.7 and has thrown a single TD with no INTs on the year. Thorson has rushed for two TDs and 75 yards on 10 carries, while RB Justin Jackson leads the team with 212 rushing yards on 50 carries.

Christian Jones leads the team in receptions with six and yardage (64), but Austin Carr has scored the lone receiving TD on the year. Kicker Jack Mitchell has hit 5 of 6 FG including 3-of-4 from beyond 30 yards.

Thorson ran for a 42 yard TD while committing no turnovers in the Week 1 victoryy over Stanford. Jackson rushed for 134 yards in that game and the Wildcats are coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons. Coach Pat Fitzgerald beamed that it “was the best performance (I’ve) seen our D play top to bottom against a ranked team.”

Thorson credited his offensive line with a lot of the performance, saying that it did a great job the whole game and that even though he missed some throws and felt he could do a lot better.

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Duke thus far has outscored Tulane and NC Central 92 to 7. It blanked NC Central last week, and this will be the Blue Devils first true test, while Northwestern has already been under fire in Week 1. Is that to suggest Northwestern might be better prepared for this matchup on ESPN 3?

Thomas Sirk of Duke is 42 of 62 passing for 604 yards and boasts a 9.74 yard per attempt average, and Sirk has also rushed for 154 yards on 24 carries, leading the team in rushing yardage and having scored one of the team’s five rushing TDs. Duke boasts four receivers with more than 100 yards on the season, led by Johnell Barnes’ 13 catches for 165 yards.

Shaun Wilson has rushed for 134 yards and caught for 120 yards on just five receptions, proving himself to be a major big play threat.  He could be in for a huge game this Saturday.

Shaquille Powell, Nicodem Pierre, Parker Bohme and Zach Boden all have carried at least eight times and boast 34 yards at minimum, filling out a talented Blue Devils’ backfield. The offense is a flushed out group and the potential is here for this game to be an OVER on the 48 points over/under. Expect Duke to be able to notch a narrow victory here, but there is little confidence in betting the spread in this contest.

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