Clemson Tigers vs Duke Blue Devils NCAAF Week 1 Preview and Prediction September 4, 2023
Clemson vs Duke September 4, 2003 @ Durham NC
Opening Betting Odds
Spread: Clemson -12, Duke +12
Moneyline: Clemson – 450, Duke +333
The last time Clemson played Duke they won by a score of 35-6 back in 2018, just failing to cover as a – 29.5 point home favorite. These two teams have played four times since 2007, and Clemson has won all four meetings by double digits. The Tigers will be a double digit road favorite in Week 1, but this Duke team lost only four games last year by an average margin of just four points.
Dabo Swinney’s team is looking to return to the College Football Playoffs in 2023. Last year’s 11-3 campaign ended with a loss to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. Cade Klubnik threw for 320 yards, no touchdowns and a pair on interceptions on 30-of-54 passing in the loss.
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- 9-4 Overall in 2022
- 5-3 in the ACC in 2022
- 9-4 ATS in 2022
The Blue Devils turned things around in Mike Elko’s first season, and they bring back 17 starters from last year’s team that won nine games. Riley Leonard threw for 2,967 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions last season. He also ran for 699 yards and 13 scores. The offensive line is solid with left tackle Graham Barton who is a potential NFL first round pick, and fifth-year seniors in interior linemen Jacob Monk and Maurice McIntyre.
The defense brings back eight starters, and Mike Elko has a history of fielding dominant defenses. Last year Duke recovered 16 fumbles, and recorded 10 interceptions. While everything is trending in the right direction for Duke, the schedule looks pretty daunting. Tough games include home versus Clemson and Notre Dame, and on the road at Florida State and North Carolina.
- 11-3 Overall in 2022
- 8-0 in the ACC in 2022
- 7-7 ATS in 2022
D.J. Uiagalelei struggled at times last season, and fans were screaming for Dabo to replace him with Cade Klubnik. They will get their wish, as Uiagalelei has transferred to Oregon State and Klubnik takes over as the starter. The arrival of new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley is expected to breathe life into the Tigers offense that ranked 66th nationally in passing in 2022.
The Tigers bring back eight starters on defense including two of the best linebackers in the country in Jeremiah Trotter and Barrett Carter. If Clemson wants to compete for a national championship in 2023 they will need to make improvements after ranking 76th nationally against the pass last season.
- The Blue Devils are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games.
- The Tigers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games.
- The Under is 22-8 in the Tigers last 30 games in September.
- The Tigers are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games in September.
- The Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
Prediction: Clemson 34 – Duke 27
Historically Clemson has dominated Duke, but Mike Elko has his team in a good position to give the Tigers a run for their money here as a home underdog. Garrett Riley had plenty of success as the offensive coordinator at TCU, and there is no reason to expect anything different here at Clemson. It might be asking a bit much for everything to click in Week 1 on the road against a Duke team that didn’t lose any games by double digits last year. Duke has an experienced quarterback, a solid offensive line and the confidence to believe that they can win this game. Don’t be surprised if this one goes right down to the wire.