Notre Dame vs Duke Football Prediction, Odds & Picks: Will the QBs Take Center Stage in Durham?

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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Riley Leonard Notre Dame vs Duke prediction odds expert picks 9/30/23 cover


After suffering a heartbreaking last-second loss against Ohio State, #11 Notre Dame doesn’t have any time to wallow with a challenging contest this Saturday at #17 Duke (7:30 pm ET, ABC).

Last Saturday, the Fighting Irish (4-1) were on the cusp of a huge home win over Ohio State. But Chip Trayanum got into the end zone as time expired to lift the Buckeyes to a 17-14 win, delivering a big blow to Notre Dame’s College Football Playoff hopes.

That is a tough way to lose, but it is still early enough in the season for the Irish to have a great season if they can run the table from here, starting with their trip to Durham, North Carolina to face the Blue Devils (4-0), who are eyeing a great season of their own.

This matchup will feature two of the top quarterbacks in college football in Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman and Duke’s Riley Leonard. But will the offenses take the spotlight, or will the defenses grab the headlines instead?

Notre Dame vs Duke Odds

Early Odds

Odds are via Bovada as of 11:45 am ET Wednesday, September 27, 2023.


  • Notre Dame -5.5 (-110)
  • Duke +5.5 (-110)


  • Over 52 (-110)
  • Under 52 (-110)


  • Notre Dame -225
  • Duke +185

How Will Hartman Fare Against a Familiar Foe?

Sam Hartman Notre Dame football

For the second time this season, Hartman will be making a homecoming of sorts. Earlier this month, the Fighting Irish paid a visit to Raleigh and North Carolina State, with Hartman throwing for 286 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-24 win.

That win avenged a road loss to the Wolfpack last season with Wake Forest, and he’ll be looking to do the same at Duke, who beat the Demon Deacons 34-31 in the teams’ regular season finale last November.

Hartman continues to be interception-free with his new team and now sits at 115 passes without a pick this season.

But he will be looking to have a much more productive performance against Duke after going 17 for 25 for a season-low 175 yards against Ohio State. That is his lowest output in a start since throwing for only 110 yards in a win over Virginia Tech on October 24, 2020.

Notre Dame was credited with a season-high 39 rushing attempts (for 176 yards) against Ohio State, and they will certainly look to establish the run against the Blue Devils.

But Hartman will need to be sharp, and he will face a serious challenge against a unit that ranks fourth in the FBS in team passing efficiency defense and has more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes allowed (three).


Will Limber Leonard Light Up Notre Dame with His Legs?

Notre Dame happens to be one of the three teams that rank higher than Duke in passing efficiency defense, with Penn State first, the Irish second, and Marshall third.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 64 of 135 (47.4%) of their passes against the Fighting Irish, who also have more interceptions (five) than touchdown passes allowed (two).

So, Leonard will certainly have his hands full as well. But one area where he has the upper hand on Hartman is the danger that he poses with his legs.

Entering this week of college football, Duke is two spots ahead of Notre Dame in rushing yards per game and one spot ahead in rushing yards per attempt, and Leonard is a big part of that success.

Rushing Offense Rankings for Notre Dame and Duke

Notre Dame

  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 198.8 (29th in the FBS)
  • Rushing Yards Per Attempt: 5.58 (16th in the FBS)


  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 200.5 (27th in the FBS)
  • Rushing Yards Per Attempt: 5.65 (15th in the FBS)

After rushing for 699 yards and 13 touchdowns at a clip of 5.6 yards per attempt last season, Leonard (29 attempts, 238 yards, 8.2 YPA, 4 TD) is the Blue Devils’ second-leading rusher thus far this season. He has fallen just short of 100 yards in a game twice already this season, recording 98 yards against Clemson and 97 against Northwestern.

Being able to pressure and harass him is one thing, but the Irish need to get their hands on him and get him to the ground to keep him from being able to make plays with his arm or legs. He has been sacked only once this season and just 23 times in 23 career games, so that task is easier said than done.

Notre Dame vs Duke Prediction and Picks

Prediction: Duke to win

Picks: Duke +5.5 (-110 at Bovada) & Notre Dame/Duke under 52 (-110 at Bovada)

When Hartman and Wake Forest visited Duke last season, the Blue Devils pulled out a 34-31 win with a late touchdown toss by Leonard.

Considering what both Duke (8.8 PPG allowed, which is 4th in the FBS) and Notre Dame (12.8 PPG allowed, which is 15th in the FBS) have done defensively thus far this season, I don’t see that much scoring in Hartman’s return visit to Durham.

But what I do is a similar result in a different uniform, with Leonard’s legs and Duke’s defense guiding the Blue Devils to a second signature win of the season.

Where to Bet on Notre Dame vs Duke

Most top online sportsbooks offer a wide variety of college football odds throughout the season.

In addition to being able to make weekly college football picks all the way from Week Zero to the College Football Playoff National Championship, you can also bet on Heisman Trophy odds, conference championship odds, win totals, and much more.

Along with Bovada, where the Notre Dame vs Duke odds in this article are from, there are plenty of sports betting sites you can choose from that are good for college football betting.

Below are some of the other books that we highly recommend:

If you don’t have an account at a book on this list, check out our reviews to help you determine if it is worth your interest and your betting funds.

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Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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