Memphis Tigers vs. Duke Blue Devils FREE PICK 9/7/13
Duke Blue Devils (1-0) at Memphis Tigers (0-0)
NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm (Liberty Bowl)
The Line: Memphis Tigers 6 -- Over/Under: 49 See the Latest Odds
The Memphis Tigers welcome the 1-0 Duke Blue Devils to the Liberty Bowl to kick off their 2013 season after sitting week one out on a bye.
Memphis welcomes a new season after last year's disappointing 4-8 showing, where they lost 4 in a row out of the gate and late in the season before turning around and winning their final three contests. Optimism does exist this season, as the Tigers return most all contributors who played key roles in that late season win streak. The Tigers averaged nearly 40 points a game during that run and return Jacob Karram, who threw for nearly 1900 yards and 14 tocuhdowns. The Tigers will need to get production from Brandon Hayes. Hayes is the Tigers leading returning rusher and will likely get the bulk of the carries out of the gate. The Tigers will rely on youth on D to emerge, but they will only need to be solid if the Tigers can put points on the board consistently, as they showed late last year.
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The Duke Blue Devils got 2013 off to a great start with a very solid performance on both sides of the ball in a 45-0 victory over outmanned NC Central. Duke was led by quarterback Anthony Boone's 16-20 for 176 yards. Sophomore Jela Duncan had 76 yards and a TD on the ground and looks up to the task of being Duke's feature back this season. Freshman DB Breon Borders had a pick and returned it 19 yards and the Blue Devils forced NC Central into 3 turnovers on the night, but showed their youth on defense as they racked up 9 penalties for 57 yards. Standout WR Jamison Crowder had 67 yards receiving, but was unable to reach the end zone.
Some trends to consider -- Memphis is 4-0 against the spread in their last 4 games at home and Duke is 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 games on the road.
Memphis showed flashes of a team capable of doing some damage in AAC play late last season and returning key contributors on offense will help with that. Duke has been trending in the right direction the past few seasons and look primed for another bowl push this year. I like a close contest at the Liberty bowl and expect Jamison Crowder to have a huge game as the Blue Devils squeak by with the late cover on the road to get to 2-0.