The ESPN Friday night showcase will once again be a Big East matchup this week. The Cincinnati Bearcats will travel to Louisville to take on the Cardinals. The Bearcats are trying to bounce back after a disappointing start to this season, and the Cardinals are looking to get their program turned back around after last year’s disappointing finish. Last year, the Bearcats beat Louisville, 41-10, but those were two completely different teams. Expect a hard-fought battle in Louisville this Friday!
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Cincinnati vs. Louisville Preview: The Offenses
The Cincinnati Bearcats offense isn’t even close to the level of production they were at last season, but they do appear to be improving as the season moves along. Zach Collaros is a quality quarterback that can beat teams with his running or passing ability. In his time as a starter last year, Collaros ran the football often. This year, Collaros has had trouble running, but he has thrown the ball well. Collaros has 12 touchdown passes on the season and only one interception. Isiah Pead is the leading rusher for this team, and he is averaging an amazing 9.8 yards per carry. The team has struggled on third down, converting just 39 percent of their conversion attempts.
The Louisville offense has surprised a lot of people this year with its effectiveness. The Cardinals rank 18th in the nation in rushing yards per game, and they are averaging 31.4 points per game as well. Senior running back Bilal Powell is having a breakout year. Powell has rushed for 689 yards in just five games. Adam Froman has done a nice job managing the passing game for Louisville. He has seven touchdowns and just one interception in his last two starts. This offense has had to settle for too many field goals this year, so that is something they will need to work on.
The Cincinnati defense is unique in that they are terrific against the run, but they are horrible against teams with a strong passing game. The Bearcats allow just 20 points per game, but they allow 268 passing yards per game. By allowing their opponents to convert on only 33 percent of their third down attempts, Cincinnati has been able to minimize the damage most of the year. Louisville is a team that always wants to establish the run first. It will be interesting to see how the Bearcats solid run defense holds up in this one.
The Louisville Cardinals have a solid defense so far this year, but they haven’t faced many strong offenses yet. The Cardinals are actually one of the best in the nation in third down defense, allowing just 26 percent of their opponents conversion attempts to be successful. The Cardinals get after the quarterback very well, which helps their secondary immensely. The front four of this unit have outperformed expectations so far this year.
Cincinnati vs. Louisville Betting Odds and Line Movement
The Bearcats opened as 3.5-point road favorites, but the money has slowly been coming in on Louisville. The Bearcats are still favored, but by 2.5 or 3.0, depending on the book you use. The posted total opened at 57, but it has since risen to 58. Don’t be surprised if the total continues to rise right up until kickoff.
Cincinnati vs. Louisville Betting Trends
Cincinnati has won the last two matchups between these two, but before that, Louisville had run off five straight wins against the Bearcats. In the last 13 meetings between these two teams, the favorite is 10-3 ATS. The Bearcats are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall. Cincinnati is also 0-4 ATS in their last four road games. Louisville is just 2-10 ATS in their last 12 Big East Conference games. The ‘over’ is 5-2 in Louisville’s last seven games.
College Football Picks: Cincinnati vs. Louisville
The Cincinnati offense has gotten going in the last few games, and I think Louisville will also be able to score consistently in this matchup. Neither of these teams is playing great football right now, but they are both improving with each game. I believe the best pick in this game is on the ‘over’.
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