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Belk Bowl Preview

The Belk Bowl will be taking place today (Thursday, Dec. 27) at Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina and will pit the ACC’s Duke against the Big East’s Cincinnati.

There are a number of narratives to follow as we head into this game and numerous factors to consider when placing a bet on the Belk Bowl.

The biggest narrative that most people have been following heading into this game has been the game of musical chairs taking place at the head

Cincinnati Tight End Travis Kelce

coach position over in Cincinnati. Former Head Coach Butch Jones led the charge in Cincinnati for three seasons and led the team to an excellent 9-3 record this season.  His coaching is also what go UC to this bowl game.  Jones resigned to go take the vacated head coaching job at Tennessee.  It looked as though Steve Stripling, the assistant coach in Cincinnati, would be left to lead the Bearcarts against Duke in the Belk Bowl, but it was announced that former Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville would take the helm as coach of Cincinnati in their game against Duke.

All this change in coaching has to hurt Cincinnati chances in the Belk Bowl.  With every new head coach comes a change in offensive and defensive schemes and also comes a change in strategy.  Their best bet to victory is if Tuberville has adapted his coaching style to the team as opposed to the team adapting to Tuberville, which we will see which is the case in this game.

Duke finds themselves in this bowl game after going 6-6 on the season.  This is the most wins Duke has had in a season since their last bowl bid 18 years ago.

Duke has its share of distractions going into this game as well.  The pressure is on this team as they have not played in a bowl game since 1995.  They are also pegged as the underdogs according to the sports book with BetOnline putting the Blue Devils as the 9 point underdogs according to the spread.  It is a lot for this team to overcome especially considering it was late in the season when this team started to struggle.  Ideally, for those who are going to go against the spread and bet on Duke those struggles will not carry over into this bowl game.

Duke WR Conner Vernon

Duke’s QB Sean Renfree and WR Conner Vernon showed made some magic together early in the season and will need to recapture that to have a chance at throwing the ball against Cincinnati backfield guys like strong safety Drew Frey and line backer Greg Blair.

Neither team is familiar with each other as this is the first time these two teams have face one another.  Duke’s money line is at +280 while Cincinnati’s sits at -335 on BetOnline.  The over/under for the game is 62 points.  The game starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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