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In the first conference game under first-year Duke football head coach Mike Elko, the Blue Devils (3-1, 0-0 ACC) look to snap the program's 13-game ACC losing streak when they host Virginia (2-2, 0-1 ACC). And they look to bounce back from a comeback attempt that fell short in their 35-27 Week 4 loss at Kansas.

It's been almost two years since Duke's last win against a conference foe: Oct. 10, 2020, at Syracuse. Furthermore, the Blue Devils have lost seven straight outings against the Cavaliers since tying their all-time series at 33 wins apiece in 2014.

Last season, Virginia dismantled Duke in Charlottesville, 48-0. 

But the odds say that the battle against these sputtering Cavaliers, in their first year of the Tony Elliott era, presents a favorable opportunity for the Blue Devils to end their droughts.

Speaking of that, one could say the several inches of rain on Friday that the remnants of Hurricane Ian dumped on Durham might foretell droughts finally coming to an end.

Omens aside, the forecast for Saturday night currently shows cloudy skies but little to no wind and only a slight chance of rain showers. Plus, Brooks Field drains well, so don't expect water to be much of a factor.

How to watch Duke football versus Virginia

Date: Saturday

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET


Stream: fuboTV (start your free trial)

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Odds: Duke football versus Virginia

At the time of this article's publishing, SI Sportsbook lists the Blue Devils as three-point favorites against the Cavaliers. And the over/under total sits at 53 points.

Riley Leonard has enjoyed a smooth start to his first season as the full-time starting quarterback for the Blue Devils, ranking No. 1 in the ACC with his 71.3 completion percentage. And Duke's balanced offense has amassed at least 420 yards in each of its four games as the team has outscored its opponents, 137-78.

However, for the most part, Leonard has benefitted from ample time to make decisions. Likewise, Duke's playmakers have been able to exploit weaknesses galore against the notably lackluster defenses they have encountered this season.

Virginia's defenders are no pushovers, especially when creating havoc from the edges. The ball-hawking Cavaliers rank No. 5 nationally with 14 sacks on the season. They tie Duke, Coastal Carolina, and Michigan State at No. 1 among all FBS schools with their seven fumble recoveries.

As for Virginia's offense, it has often been nonexistent. The Cavaliers, fresh off a 22-20 loss at Syracuse, are averaging only 18.3 points while allowing a respectable 19.3 points per game.

Will Elko & Co. eke out a drought-ending victory in front of the Homecoming/Youth Sports Day crowd? Blue Devil Country, currently 4-0 in predicting Duke's outcomes this season, says yes.

You can't overlook that the Blue Devils, off to a relatively encouraging start to the season despite their hiccup last week, enter the bout with much more to be proud of and believe in on offense than the Cavaliers.

Moreover, Virginia is without its leading tackler, veteran linebacker Nick Jackson, for the first half due to his suspension for a third-quarter targeting foul at Syracuse.

PREDICTION: Duke 31, Virginia 17 (matching the point total from their meeting last season but with a far different result)

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