Free NCAA Football Pick for Monday Miami vs. Louisville
by CarbonSports - 9/1/2014
Game: Miami (+3.5) vs. Louisville (-3.5)
Total set at 54
Bobby Petrino's second stint with the Louisville Cardinals begins tonight and he's got a tough act to follow. Charlie Strong coached this team to a 12-1 SU record last year on the back of QB Teddy Bridgewater's success and playing in a relatively soft Big East conference. The Cardinals do have plenty of returning starters this year, but as we've seen already this weekend, replacing a talented starting QB often comes with mixed results and typically takes time to get your football program rolling again.
Louisville is now in the ACC this year and they open up their season against a conference rival in the Miami Hurricanes. These two teams played in the Russell Athletic Bowl last year and it was all Cards in the 36-9 win. Miami's lone TD came during garbage time midway through the 4th quarter and bettors that remember that game are already siding with another Cardinals win. Louisville had 554 total yards of offense in that game - compared to 174 for the Hurricanes and moved up and down the field with ease as they had 28 first downs. But Bridgewater was responsible for a lot of that (447 passing yards) and I don't think his loss can be understated here.
Secondly, the Cardinals are dealing with a new system under their new head coach and it's highly unlikely that they've fully grasped everything Petrino's ways have to offer. Miami's defense may have got torched in last year's game, but many of those starters are back this season and they haven't forgotten about it. This is their chance at redemption and I like Miami's chances for success.
The problem with backing Miami here is the fact that they'll likely be starting a freshman QB in Brad Kaaya. Freshmen QB's are always an unknown to bettors and it makes it tough for those to put their money down on the Hurricanes tonight. However, Kaaya was a top recruit coming out of college and this spot is just too good in my opinion not to take the points here.
Obviously the revenge angle is drastically in favor of Miami tonight and they've still got RB Duke Johnson back there. Johnson is a favorite to be the top RB's in the country this season and with Al Golden looking to ease his young QB into the game, Johnson will be asked to carry much of the load early on.
Furthermore, Miami was a brutal 0-for-11 on 3rd down in that Bowl game last year as stalled drives cost them any and all momentum. When you aren't consistently moving the chains you are not able to give your own defense the necessary rest they need to perform at an optimal level. That will change tonight as Kaaya and Johnson will dictate the pace of play here against the Cardinals and give the Miami faithful tremendous hope for what lies ahead this season.
Finally, We can't forget about the fact that Louisviille is 1-7 ATS when playing a conference opponent in the first of back-to-back home games for the Cards. It was a spot they were 0-2 ATS in last year and I don't think that will change tonight. The Miami players that were involved in that Bowl beating last year will be out for blood and the returning Louisville players will be pining for Bridgewater.
Take Miami +3.5
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