Louisville Cardinals vs. Duke Blue Devils Predictions, Odds, Picks

Nov. 18, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

ACC action on Thursday night sees the Duke Blue Devils host the Louisville Cardinals. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN from Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

Score Prediction

Louisville 34, Duke 20

Best Bets

Duke +20.5


Louisville Cardinals vs. Duke Blue Devils Predictions

The Louisville Cardinals can become bowl eligible with a win this week over the Duke Blue Devils. Scott Satterfield appears to have turned things around with Louisville after going 3-7 in ACC play last season. Meanwhile, David Cutcliffe has really struggled in ACC play over the last two years. Duke is 1-15 in its last 16 conference games, leading to speculation that the sun could be setting on the Cutcliffe era.

This will be just the third meeting between these teams. Their only prior showdown in ACC play came in 2016 when Lamar Jackson led the Cardinals to a 24-14 win in Louisville. Duke has really struggled this season, but the Blue Devils have been good at home and should keep it within the number on a short week.

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Louisville Cardinals vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Odds

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Louisville Cardinals vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Resources

  • Matchup: ACC
  • Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021
  • Venue: Wallace Wade Stadium
  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • TV-Time: ESPN - 7:30 p.m. ET

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Louisville Cardinals Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 5-5
  • ATS: 5-5
  • O/U: 3-7
  • ATS - Home: 3-3
  • ATS - Away: 2-2

Malik Cunningham is having another solid season as Louisville’s starting quarterback. Cunningham is completing 61.3% of his passes for 8.4 YPA. He is one of the most dangerous runners at his position too, and he currently leads the Cardinals in rushing yards. Cunningham is averaging 5.1 YPC with a whopping 16 rushing touchdowns and could surpass 1,000 yards on the ground.

Louisville has one of the better run games in the conference. In addition to Cunningham’s exploits, Jalen Mitchell has run for 633 yards and four scores. Mitchell posted his first 100-yard game of the season last week against Syracuse.

Tyler Harrell is the big play threat at receiver, averaging 31.3 YPR for the Cardinals. Jordan Watkins is the leading receiver, and tight end Marshon Ford leads the team with 37 receptions. This is a well-rounded passing attack though with five players over 300 receiving yards.

The Cardinals have a middle of the road defense. They rank 62nd in Defensive SP+, and they are allowing 27.4 PPG and 402.9 YPG. Louisville has done a good job of getting off the field on third down though, allowing opponents to convert just 34.9% of their third down chances. Yasir Abdullah has been a pass rushing force with nine sacks, while Keitrel Clark leads the team in interceptions and passes defensed.

Duke Blue Devils Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-7
  • ATS: 4-6
  • O/U: 5-5
  • ATS - Home: 4-1
  • ATS - Away: 0-5

It looks likely that Gunnar Holmberg will start under center for Duke this week. Holmberg is completing almost 70% of his passes for 7.9 YPA. He has been much better than freshmen Riley Leonard and Jordan Moore, but Holmberg didn’t play against Virginia Tech last week due to an upper body injury. He has taken part in practices according to the Duke Chronicle, so that bodes well for his availability on Thursday night.

The Blue Devils have some talented skill position players. Mataeo Durant has been a reliable running back, surpassing 1,000 yards with nine touchdowns while averaging 5.0 YPC.

Jake Bobo and Jalon Calhoun are the two receivers to watch for the Blue Devils. Bobo leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, while Calhoun has been a big play threat in losses to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh.

Duke’s defense has been abysmal. The Blue Devils rank 108th in Defensive SP+. They have the second-worst defense in the country in terms of total defense, allowing 526.3 YPG, and the pass defense has been particularly bad.

Louisville has gone UNDER the point total in seven of its last 10 games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Louisville Cardinals

  • Record: 5-5
  • VI Ranking: 46
  • Points Scored: 300
  • Points Allowed: 250
  • PS/G: 30 (55th)
  • PA/G: 25 (62nd)

Inside the Stats - Duke Blue Devils

  • Record: 3-7
  • VI Ranking: 93
  • Points Scored: 242
  • Points Allowed: 368
  • PS/G: 24.2 (97th)
  • PA/G: 36.8 (121st)

Key Players to Watch

  • UL: Malik Cunningham - QB (166/271, 2,286 yards, 29 Total TDs, 5 INT)
  • UL: Jalen Mitchell - RB (136 carries, 633 yards, 4 TD)
  • DUKE: Gunnar Holmberg - QB (178/257, 2,034 yards, 7 TD, 6 INT)
  • DUKE: Mataeo Durant - RB (221 carries, 1,087 yards, 9 TD)

Louisville Cardinals vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Conclusion

Louisville won’t have any trouble beating Duke, but the Cardinals will be somewhat looking ahead to next week’s clash with Kentucky for the Commonwealth Cup. That will lead to a somewhat uninspired win that will spur a Duke cover.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Trends

  • Duke has failed to cover the spread in six straight games.
  • Duke has gone OVER the point total in eight of its last nine games when facing a non-AP-ranked school in November.
  • Louisville has gone UNDER the point total in seven of its last 10 games.
  • Duke has failed to cover the spread in seven of its last 10 games.