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Riley Leonard pointing at line of scrimmage

Dec 28, 2022; Annapolis, Maryland, USA; Duke Blue Devils quarterback Riley Leonard (13) calls a play at the line during the first half Central Florida Knights in the 2022 Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Clemson Tigers visit the Duke Blue Devils in ACC action Monday night
  • Clemson was 11-3 last year, missing the College Football playoff, while Duke had an impressive 9-4 campaign
  • Read below for Clemson vs Duke odds, lines and predictions for CFB Week 1

After two straight years watching the College Football Playoff from home, the Clemson Tigers are seeking a return to the big stage.

Following their breakout campaign a year ago, the Duke Blue Devils would like nothing more than to dent those hopes.

It makes for an interesting opener for both ACC clubs, that, because of previous divisional alignment, will see Clemson visit Duke for the first time since 2012.

Action gets underway Monday (September 4) at 8pm ET from Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, NC. You can watch the game live on ESPN.

Clemson vs Duke Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Clemson Tigers -12.5 (-115) -520 Over 55.5 (-110)
Duke Blue Devils +12.5 (-105) +385 Under 55.5 (-110)

With a dominating record over Duke (more on that below), oddsmakers have Clemson as heavy 12.5-point road favorites and -520 on the moneyline, an implied win probability of 83.87%.

Odds as of September 2nd, 2023 at FanDuel Sportsbook. Get a FanDuel promo code to bet on college football.

Klubnik Handed Keys To Offense

Very few teams would consider an 11-3 campaign a down year, but that’s the level of excellence Dabo Swinney’s program has reached.

The Tigers suffered losses in two of those final three games, dropping  the regular season finale to South Carolina 31-30, then getting thumped in the Orange Bowl 31-14 by the Tennessee Volunteers.

With incumbent QB DJ Uiagalelei off to Oregon State, the pivot position goes to 2nd-year man Cade Klubnik.

Tigers fans got a glimpse into what could lie ahead this season, when Klubnik took over for a benched Uiagalelei in the ACC Championship game last year. The freshman looked awesome in his lone start of the year, giving juice to an offense that looked sluggish at times.

He finished 20-for-24 for 279 yards with a TD, while also running one in, as Clemson crushed the North Carolina Tar Heels 39-10.

Clemson Key Returning Offensive Players

Player Position Stats (Last Season)
Cade Klubnik QB 697 passing yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
Will Shipley RB 1,182 rushing yards, 15 TDs
Antonio Williams WR 604 receiving yards, 4 TDs

Klubnik will have handoff again to stud back Will Shipley, who ran for 1,182 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago. Leading receiver Antonio Williams is also returning — he totalled 56 catches for 604 yards and four TD’s in his freshman campaign.

Defensively, this opener will be a great test for Clemson, who were third in the ACC  in sacking the QB with 43. They’ll be up a Duke unit that surrendered a conference-best 17.

Duke Not A Fluke

What does Mike Elko have for a follow-up after a dynamite first year?

He led Duke to an impressive 9-4, capped by a 31-10 beatdown of UCF in the Military Bowl. It’s their highest win total since 2014, and just the seventh time in school history they’ve touched the 9-win plateau.

Getting a win in the opener against the 9th-ranked Tigers would complete another first: an opening-season win against a nationally-ranked foe, which would break Duke’s 13-game losing skid in that category.

Perhaps the Blue Devils’ greatest asset this year is continuity, as they field a team that returns 17 starters — more than any other program in the ACC.

That includes star QB Riley Leonard, who carved up defenses both with his arm and his legs in his freshman year. Leonard threw for 2,967 yards and 20 TDs against just six picks, while also running for 699 yards and 13 majors.

There’s some nice pieces around him: running backs Jaquez Moore (4.6 rush average) and Jordan Coleman (6.4 rush average) combined for over 1,000 yards rushing and matched Riley with 13 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Jalon Calhoun (62 rec, 873 yds, 4 TD) leads a receiving group that features no less than five pass-catches that averaged double-digit yards per reception last year.

Duke vs Clemson Prediction

Clemson has won five straight over Duke, while holding a 37-16-1 mark in this head-to-head overall.

However, the last time these teams met — the Tigers thrashed Duke 35-6 — was five long years ago.

Clemson is also working in a new offensive coordinator in Garrett Riley, last seen helping vault TCU to the title game last year.

These teams were also very evenly matched a year ago, with Clemson and Duke ranking 4-5 in the ACC in points scored and points against.

While I don’t think the Tigers lose, Duke’s continuity could prove a problem.


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Eric Rosales

Sports Writer & Editor


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