Date/Time: October 26th, 12:00 PM ET
Spread: Louisville -20.5
Here at Bang the Book, we are always keeping our eyes open for the best games to bet on each and every week. Of all of the games on the Week 9 docket, the one we are zeroing in on is the game where the South Florida Bulls host the Louisville Cardinals at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 26th.
Last week, we went with the big favorites when the Alabama Crimson Tide dominated the Arkansas Razorbacks. That was an easy cover to move us to 7-1 ATS on the season on our picks of the week, and we are expecting another romp next week down in Tampa as long as the Cardinals decide that they want to show their faces.
Head Coach Charlie Strong has a tough job in this one. His team was a disaster in the second half against the UCF Knights last week, as a 28-7 lead ended up dissipating. Louisville was beaten for the very first time this season, and now there is no chance to get into the BCS without a lot of help. Perhaps an at-large bid could come its way, but the truth of the matter is that this is UCF’s conference to lose, an SEC team with two losses is certainly going to get an at-large spot over a Louisville team that goes 11-1 and finishes as the runners-up in its own suspect conference.
We think that last season, these Cardinals learned a heck of a lot. They were a 9-0 team going into the Carrier Dome to play the Syracuse Orange, and they were humbled 45-26. The next week, they were upset by the Connecticut Huskies, but they still found a way to go on the road to Piscataway and win the Big East title over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights with a late touchdown drive led by QB Teddy Bridgewater. Last season’s team wasn’t anywhere near this dominating, though. Those Cardinals in 2012 only beat North Carolina by five, Florida International by seven, Southern Miss by four, Pittsburgh by 10, South Florida by two, and Cincinnati by three. This year’s team has already posted six victories by at least two touchdowns, four wins by at least 23 points, and three wins by at least 37 points.
Even after getting totally outplayed over an eight-minute stretch by UCF, the Cards still rank third in the land in total defense at 260.9 yards per game, and they are still in the Top 10 in the land in pass defense (173.9 YPG), rush defense (87.0 YPG), and scoring (11.7 PPG). The offense still ranks 14th in passing at 330.9 yards per game, and 17th in both total scoring (40.1 PPG) and total yards per game (496.7 YPG).
It’s not like Bridgewater played a bad game last week against UCF. He went 29-of-38 for 341 yards with two TDs, and he led the team on what should have been the game-winning touchdown drive. Bridgewater has a 20/2 TD/INT ratio, and he is still averaging 10.3 yards per pass attempt. The club is averaging well over five yards per rush as well, and three different running backs are all good for at least 5.5 yards per carry.
And then we switch over to USF… Head Coach Willie Taggart has really done nothing to take this team in the right direction this year, and though there were wins in the last two games against the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Connecticut Huskies, we remain unimpressed. There’s a reason that the Bulls were dogs to the Huskies on the road, and those pups from Storrs were beaten and beaten down this year in a number of games against really bad teams.
South Florida still has a pathetic offense. The team is averaging 258.5 yards per game and 16.2 points per game. There isn’t a quarterback that has even 500 passing yards, and there isn’t a single player on the team with more than two touchdowns. QB Bobby Eveld has completed more than half of his pass attempts exactly once this season, and he followed that up by going 8-of-28 against UConn in his most recent game.
The bottom line here for the Bulls is that they aren’t scoring in this one. If they get to 17, we’ll be tremendously impressed. That means that we need Bridgewater and the gang to get to 38 more than half the time to make us winners, and just can’t see how the Cardinals aren’t going to pull this one off. If you take out those bad eight minutes against UCF, Louisville would still be undefeated, and it would be favored by 28 in this one. We think that we are getting a bargain of a price by laying less than three full touchdowns with the Cardinals, and we have to think that they are going to be heading down to the Sunshine State on a mission to blast the Bulls and to get back into the mode of being the alpha dogs of the American Athletic Conference.
Week 9 College Football Pick of the Week: Louisville Cardinals -20.5
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.