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Birmingham Bowl Betting Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs. Troy Trojans

December 23, 2023

The 2023 Birmingham Bowl will take place on Saturday afternoon, December 23rd, when the Troy Trojans face the Duke Blue Devils in Birmingham, Alabama at the Protective Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 12:00 PM ET and will air on ABC.


The Troy Trojans won the Sun Belt Conference by defeating the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the Sun Belt Championship game by a score of 49-23 and finished the season on a ten-game winning streak which also led to a 1st place finish in the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference. The Trojans had one of the best scoring defenses in college football this season as they enter this game allowing an average of 17.15 points per game which ranks 10th in college football. 


Troy was an above-average scoring team thanks to their passing offense as they enter this game averaging 31.15 points per game and 253.38 passing yards per game. Gunnar Watson played a pivotal role in the success the passing offense had this season as he enters this game having completed 246 of 402 attempts for 3,327 yards with 27 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Troy Trojans will look to finish the season on an 11-game winning streak while also finishing back-to-back seasons with 12 wins when they play the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon.


The Duke Blue Devils started the season with a record of 5-1, however, they would lose four of their final six games but would end their two-game losing streak with a 30-19 win at home against the Pittsburgh Panthers in their season finale. Duke was a below-average scoring team as they enter this matchup averaging 27.75 points per game, however, they had an above-average rushing offense that averaged 168.42 rushing yards per game. Jordan Waters and Jaquez Moore were the leaders in the backfield as they combined for 1,354 yards and 18 touchdowns.


However, the success of Duke this season can be attributed to their defense as they allowed an average of 19.75 points per game which ranked 22nd in college football. The Blue Devils will look to finish the season on a two-game winning streak when they play the Troy Trojans in the Birmingham Bowl.


BookMaker has the Troy Trojans listed as 7.5-point favorites against the Duke Blue Devils in the Birmingham Bowl on Saturday afternoon. Duke has won both games in the series with the most recent matchup having occurred in 2014 which resulted in a 34-17 win at home for the Duke Blue Devils, however, the Trojans are 2-0 ATS all-time in the series. The Troy Trojans are 8-5 ATS overall and 7-4 ATS as a favorite this season while the Duke Blue Devils are 6-6 ATS overall and 2-3 ATS as an underdog on the year.


Troy enters this game with a better record at 11-2 while Duke is 7-5 and has lost four of their last six games.


The Trojans have also been the better team at covering the spread in the series as they are 2-0 ATS all-time while also having been the better team at covering the spread this season as they are 8-5 ATS overall and 7-4 ATS as a favorite while the Blue Devils are 6-6 ATS overall and 2-3 ATS as an underdog.   


Troy will be without their head coach but their defense will be what will win this game as Duke has quite a few changes happening. It is also a great opportunity for Troy to gain a victory against a Power Five team.



Spooky Express Pick: Troy Trojans -7