Back-to-back Sun Belt champions Troy looks to finish the season on a high note against Duke in the Birmingham Bowl.
The Blue Devils sputtered to finish the season after an injury to Riley Leonard and now have plenty of key members of the team in the transfer portal or with new teams as head coach Mike Elko is now with Texas A&M. How will this play out against one of the best Group of Five teams in the country?
Let's see if Troy can cover a big number in the Birmingham Bowl,
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Troy vs. Duke Odds, Spread and Total
Duke vs. Troy Betting Trends
- Troy is 8-5 against the spread (ATS) this season
- Duke is 6-6 ATS this season
- Duke is 7-4-1 to the OVER
- Troy has covered five of six games away from home this season
Troy vs. Duke How to Watch
- Date: Saturday, December 23rd
- Game Time: 12:00 PM EST
- Venue: Protective Stadium
- How to Watch (TV): ABC
- Troy Record: 11-2
- Duke Record: 7-5
Troy vs. Duke Key Players to Watch
Kimani Vidal: Vidal is a 1,000 rusher for the second straight season and will draw a favorable matchup against a shorthanded Duke defense. The Blue Devils' season-long metrics indicate that the team is top 30 in EPA/Rush, but the team will potentially be down four defenders who logged more than 350 snaps this season, including two leaders in sacks, R.J. Oben and Aeneas Pebbles.
Grayson Loftis: Loftis started the final four games of the season for Duke, leading the team to a 2-2 record, getting better with every passing game. Now, he draws a Troy defense that will be the toughest he has seen to date without either of his starting running back Jordan Waters alongside him. Troy is 13th in EPA/Play, making this a tough draw for the Blue Devils offense.
Troy vs. Duke Prediction and Pick
Bowl games can sometimes be more of an art than a science. This matchup pits two teams that have different motivations and present a complete mismatch. Duke is transitioning into a new phase with a new head coach (Manny Diaz) while the team has several key contributors likely to sit out in what is a formality for the team.
Meanwhile, Troy is looking to cap off another stellar season in the Sun Belt. Yes, the team lost head coach Jon Sumrall to Troy, but the team named its defensive coordinator Greg Gasparato to finish the season out and win an 11th straight game. While the team won't have edge rusher Javon Solomon available for this game after he announced his intention to declare for the NFL Draft, the defense should be at full strength otherwise.
Further, the offense has veteran Gunnar Watson and the aforementioned Vidal set to thrive against Duke's defense. The Trojans offense, sometimes the question mark of the roster, has scored 28 or more in all but one game since September 30th.
Further, the defense should give Loftis fits as the team is 22nd in Pro Football Focus' pass rush grade and the No. 1 team in terms of rush defense grade.
Lay it with Troy in a game that can get lopsided quickly with the team likely bolstering a significant home-field advantage. The game in Birmingham, Alabama is about two hours away from Troy's campus in Troy.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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