2022 Military Bowl Preview: UCF Knights vs Duke Blue Devils

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The 2022 Military Bowl is one of the better bowls between teams with fewer than 10 wins. The big bowls such as the Rose, Cotton, Orange, and Sugar have battles between 10- or 11-win teams. Those games belong in a separate class. Among the smaller bowls, this game rates as one of the more attractive options out there. Gus Malzahn, who coached in the national championship game nine seasons ago with Auburn against Florida State, faces Duke coach Mike Elko, whom most people think did the best coaching job in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.

There’s a lot to like about this clash in the home stadium of the Navy Midshipmen. Let's take a closer look at the matchup and the best prop bets to wager on.

UCF Knights vs Duke Blue Devils – 2022 Military Bowl

Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2022 – 2:00 PM ET

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

NCAA Football Odds: Blue Devils -3

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The Knights are 4-2 away from home this season, 3-3 against the spread.

The Blue Devils are 3-3 straight up away from home this season, 3-3 against the spread.

UCF is 7-3 straight up in its last 10 games, 5-5 ATS. Duke is 6-4 in its last 10, 6-4 ATS.

This is the first meeting between the two schools. They have never previously played.

UCF Knights

The Knights stumbled early in the season, losing at home to Louisville. It was easy to think it was going to be a long and difficult year for Gus Malzahn and his team. However, the Knights got things turned around. They defeated Cincinnati in a very important midseason game and rose to the top tier of the AAC. They were able to fight past Cincy and reach the AAC Championship Game. They had beaten Tulane in New Orleans earlier in the regular season, but they needed to beat Tulane a second time to go to the Cotton Bowl as the Group of Five champion. They couldn’t do it.

They gave up 45 points and were shredded by Tulane’s potent offense. They had to settle for a 9-4 record and a runner-up finish in the AAC. It was a good year, but it could have been noticeably better. A loss to Navy late in the season prevented UCF from a 10-win campaign.

Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils were a disaster one year ago. Few people thought this program was going to make a bowl game in 2022. Merely winning five games would have been viewed as a positive forward step for the Blue Devils in the first season for new head coach Mike Elko, who had previously worked in the ACC as the defensive coordinator for Wake Forest. Elko blasted all expectations out of the water. He soared to an 8-4 record. Duke beat Wake Forest. It defeated Miami on the road. It beat Virginia Tech. It beat Virginia. All of those teams were picked to do better than Duke in the 2022 ACC football season.

Elko is a defensive coach, but his offense thrived under quarterback Riley Leonard. He did a complete coaching job, and now he gets a chance to give Duke a bowl victory.

Knights vs. Blue Devils Prediction:

Blue Devils 30, Knights 24