College Football Picks: Louisville at Kentucky Odds and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 9/12/2013
I’m not particularly interested in this one in terms of outcome — Louisville is very well-positioned to win it, and I don’t anticipate an upset. Despite that, though, there is plenty of intrigue here. For starters, after beating up on Eastern Kentucky and Ohio, this is the biggest test yet for a Louisville team that has the look of a potential unbeaten squad. They have been wildly-impressive so far, but with this game we’ll get a better sense of whether they are built to go all the way.
If they are all we expect them to be then they should be able to win reasonably handily. If they believe their own hype and aren’t willing to do the work, though, then this is the kind of opponent that could bite them. The hype around this program, and especially Teddy Bridgewater, has been growing lately. A road game against a hated and outmatched rival is a very good test of whether they are worthy.
For Kentucky, this is our best chance yet to see what we are really dealing with heading into what should be an absolutely brutal SEC schedule. Mark Stoops is a very good choice to lead this team, and he faces a real uphill challenge to turn this into a respectable program. What can we expect in this, his first year? The team that got outplayed and outclassed in their opener by a Western Kentucky squad that looked just ridiculous against Tennessee next time out? Or the one that rolled to a brilliantly-dominant 41-7 win over Miami of Ohio? The team is all over the place, but this is by far their best opponent yet — though far from the only tough opponent they face in the next month. With Florida, South Carolina and Alabama in the next three weeks, this team is going to lose a lot, but this game will give us a clue as to how much they can be trusted as underdogs that could cover a monster spread or two.
Louisville at Kentucky Betting Storylines
Teddy Bridgewater came into the season with a fair bit of hype. After all, he was at the helm of a team that could go undefeated, and NFL scouts love him more every time they see him. Now, with his hot start, and a slow one from Jadeveon Clowney, the possibility exists for really the first time that Bridgewater could play himself into the top spot in the draft. He has certainly done his part so far — 46-of-60 for 752 yards, which is a stunning 12.5 yards per attempt, and nine touchdown passes against just one interception. Those are truly stellar numbers, and it doesn’t even seem like he has had to shift into a high gear yet to post them. Kentucky doesn’t have the personnel yet to really contain him, but Mark Stoops has crafted some masterful defenses in his time, and he represents the toughest coaching challenge Bridgewater will face all year. Stoops has nothing to lose and is likely to gamble regularly. How successful you anticipate those gambles being despite the talent deficit will determine a lot about how you handicap this game.
When you have two quarterbacks, so the saying goes, you often don’t really have any. Kentucky so far has done a good job of going against that trend. They have given significant playing time to both Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow and seem to intend to keep doing so. As much as I normally don’t like a platoon, with two somewhat raw sophomores it may be the best approach here — and it certainly has worked well so far, even when you factor in the weaker competition. Smith is by far the better passer, especially in longer yardage situations. Winslow is accurate on short passes, though, and he is dangerous with his feet. The two allow Kentucky to disrupt opposing defenses and change the pace of games frequently. They’ll need every advantage they can get, especially on third down — opponents have converted on third down just three times in 26 tries this year against Louisville. We know that The Cardinals are likely to score a lot of points, so Stoops and Kentucky will have to be aggressive and creative to try to keep pace. Despite solid scoring efforts in their first two games, that is going to be a tall task here.
Louisville at Kentucky College Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Louisville favored by 10.5 points on the road, and with more than 90 percent of bets coming in on the Cardinals it is no surprise that it has risen to 13.5 widely, with 14 available in spots. The total is reasonably stable at 59 points.
Kentucky has a 14-11 edge in the 25 games of this series, though Louisville has won the last two. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. The Wildcats have gone “under” the total in each of their last four road games, though three of those came before Stoops, so they are of limited value.
College Football Picks: Louisville at Kentucky Predictions
I don’t want to underestimate the Wildcats — Stoops deserves respect, and the team is not entirely devoid of talent. Louisville is just too much better for Kentucky to deal with, though. Bridgewater is dialed in, and he is going to be able to move the ball effectively. The Kentucky offense won’t look nearly as good against the Louisville defense as they have up to this point. The only thing to do in my eyes is find the best price you can for the Cardinals and run with it. I’ll give up 13.5 points with reasonable comfort — even if it is the least original play there is on the board this week.
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