Duke vs Louisville Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Cardinals Fly High

With a possible spot in the ACC Title game on the line, Duke's uncertainty at QB comes to the forefront as Riley Leonard is banged up. Will that be the advantage the Cardinals need to get the win and cover the spread at home?

Oct 28, 2023 • 11:59 ET • 4 min read

The Duke Blue Devils and Louisville Cardinals face off in a surprisingly important ACC clash this afternoon in Kentucky. Both the Blue Devils and the Cardinals have a lone conference loss, so this match is a must-win for either team if they want to reach the ACC Championship Game.

But the big question for this game surrounds the status of Blue Devils quarterback Riley Leonard, who is still nursing an ankle injury. Will the potential future NFLer be anywhere near 100% in this matchup and if not, will the Cards take advantage of the hankering QB?

Oddsmakers like their chances, setting the home team as moderate favorites. Can the Cardinals take care of business or will Leonard battle through and lead the Blue Devils to an upset?

I break down the college football odds and bring you the best bet in my college football picks and predictions for Duke vs. Louisville.

Duke vs Louisville best odds

Duke vs Louisville picks and predictions

Despite each entering this game off a loss, both Louisville and Duke have a shot to qualify for the ACC title game. They just can’t afford another one. Basically, turning this into an elimination game.

Duke enters this matchup at 5-2, following a loss last week to conference-leading Florida State. Riley Leonard did start that game despite suffering a high ankle sprain just three weeks prior, and the Blue Devils actually took a 20-17 lead into halftime. 

But Leonard appeared to reinjure his ankle in the third quarter and the Seminoles took over, eventually winning 38-20. 

Don’t expect to hear an update on Leonard until just about kickoff. But if he does play you can bet he won’t be at 100 percent. Which means less running of the football. And that’s what the Blue Devils do best. But if Leonard is, well, hamstrung, the Cardinals will be able to focus on Duke’s dynamic duo at running back in Jordan Waters and Jaquez Moore.

That’s something Louisville is certainly capable of. The Cardinals rank 18th in the country allowing just 3.1 yards per carry and rank 39th in defensive success rate against the rush, as well as 27th in defensive success rate overall.

Louisville is also in an interesting spot heading this one. The Cardinals were flying high a few weeks ago. They were 6-0 and coming off a huge upset of Notre Dame. Unfortunately, they hit the all too predictable “letdown spot” and lost the following week to a mediocre-at-best Pitt team.

However, now the Cardinals are coming off a bye and playing at home. Head coach Jeff Brohm should have a good game plan heading into this one. 

Louisville also has a strong ground game behind Jawhar Jordan, who rushes for 7.4 yards per carry. Overall the ranks eighth in EPA/rush and 10th in rushing offensive success rate. And if there is somewhere you can attack this Duke defense it’s on the ground.

But the Cardinals can only be really successful when quarterback Jake Plummer is efficient and not turning over the football. Plummer can do a good job in a clean pocket, and Duke doesn’t get much of a pass rush ranking 79th in sack rate. Plummer should dink and dunk this offense down the field on Saturday.

With Leonard still banged up and the Cardinals being at home and having the extra time to prepare, I’m laying the chalk.

My best bet: Louisville -5.5 (-115 at BetMGM)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Duke vs Louisville same-game parlay

Louisville Alt Spread -5.5

Duke team total Under 19.5

Isaac Guerendo Anytime TD

As always our same-game parlay begins with our best bet, which for this ACC matchup is laying the 5.5 points with Louisville. Part of the reason I’m comfortable with laying those points is because of Leonard’s status for Duke.

He clearly reaggravated his high-ankle sprain against Florida State and once he left the game in the second half, the Duke offense couldn’t move the football and didn’t score in the second half. Backup quarterback Henry Belin went just 1-6 in relief of Leonard. It makes me think if Leonard can’t go the Cards, who already have a good run defense, will sell out to make Belin beat them with his arm. I’m betting that doesn’t work and I’m adding Duke to go Under its team total of 19.5 in this matchup.

And let’s close this same-game parlay out an anytime touchdown scorer. Cardinals back Jawhar Jordan is still questionable for this matchup after having to leave the game vs. Pitt. But backup Isaac Guerendo found the endzone twice in his absence. Even if Jordan is back, Guerendo could steal a goal line carry or two and score once again as they ease him back in. If all three of these legs hit we cash a +587 ticket.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Duke vs Louisville spread and Over/Under analysis

This ACC clash opened with Louisville as 4-point home favorites and on Thursday the Cardinals jumped to -6. This is likely because there is a chance that Leonard doesn’t play this game at all and bettors were willing to jump on that number. There are still a few 5.5s out there, which is a key number, so get that if you can. But I would probably lean toward the home team even at 6.5 as I think Louisville wins this game by a touchdown.

The total hit the board at 47 and has been bet down slightly to 46.5 and that’s where it sits as of Friday evening. I would lean to the Under here for the same reason that I like Louisville. The Duke offense just looked one-dimensional and stagnant without Leonard. And the Blue Devils’ defense is solid enough to keep this game low-scoring.

Duke vs Louisville betting trend to know

Louisville has hit the moneyline in their last six games at home for +7.3 units. Find more college football betting trends for Duke vs Louisville.

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Duke vs Louisville game info

Location: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2023
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

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