Labor Day College Football Betting: Miami Hurricanes at Louisville Cardinals
Miami Hurricanes at Louisville Cardinals
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium – Louisville, Kentucky
Monday, September 1, 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Louisville -2 1/2
Current Line: Louisville -3 1/2
Opening Total: 56
Current Total: 54
Opening Money Line: Louisville -185 / Miami +155
Current Money Line: Louisville -170 / Miami +150
Louisville moves from the American Athletic Conference to the ACC this year. They will take on the Miami Hurricanes Monday night in Louisville. Miami leads the series against Louisville 9-2-1, including 4-1 in Louisville. However, the Cardinals have won the last 2 meetings. These teams played last season in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando with Louisville prevailing 36-9.
Miami is coached by Al Golden, now in his fourth year with the Hurricanes. Miami went 9-4 last year after starting off the season 7-0. However, the Hurricanes would then go on a three game losing streak to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke all by 18 points or more. Miami would rebound with wins over Virginia and Pitt before the bowl loss to Louisville. The Hurricanes averaged 266 passing yards and 160 rushing yards per game last season. On defense, Miami allowed 250 passing yards and 177 rushing yards. The Hurricanes outscored teams 34-27 last season. Miami has 14 starters back in 2014 including 7 on offense.
Louisville coach Charlie Strong left to take over the Texas program. Louisville hired former coach Bobby Petrino from his job at Western Kentucky. The Cardinals went 12-1 last season with the only loss coming to AAC champion Central Florida by a field goal. The Cardinals were in consideration for one of the BCS at large spots but the conference and schedule were just too weak for that to be realistic. Louisville had to settle for the trip to Orlando and the win over Miami. The Cardinals averaged 314 passing yards and 147 rushing yards per game on offense last season. On defense, Louisville allowed 171 passing and 81 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals outscored opponents 35-12 last season. Eleven starters are back including 7 on offense.
Quarterback Stephen Morris is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Morris threw for 3,028 yards with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Ryan Williams was supposed to be the starter this year but he tore is ACL in spring practice and is out indefinitely. Freshman Kevin Olsen was supposed to start in place of Williams but he is suspended for the season opener at Louisville for violating team rules. It looks like true freshman Brad Kaaya will start the opener. He is listed as probable with an undisclosed injury. Former Kansas and BYU quarterback Jake Heaps could see some snaps but it isn’t likely.
Duke Johnson was All-ACC last year despite breaking his ankle in the eighth game. He will again be the feature back after he had 145 carries for 920 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 4 catches for 77 yards. Dallas Crawford had 137 carries for 558 yards and 12 touchdowns, plus 20 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown. He moves to safety though. Gus Edwards and true freshman Joseph Yearby will get carries as well. Edwards rushed for 338 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.
Receiver Allen Hurns is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had 62 catches for 1,162 yards and 6 touchdowns. Stacey Coley looks to take over as the go-to receiver after making 33 catches for 591 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Clive Walford had 34 catches for 454 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Herb Waters had 28 catches for 405 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Three starters return to a solid offensive line, including NFL ready Ereck Flowers.
The Miami defense wasn’t exactly great or terrible last year but did give up 36 or more points in each of the four losses for the Hurricanes. With seven starters back there should be some improvement.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is now in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. Bridgewater, a three year starter, threw for 3,970 yards with 31 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, and also had a rushing touchdown last season. Sophomore Will Gardner takes over as the starter but only threw 12 passes last year. Gardner did throw for 542 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Louisville spring game. It isn’t clear who will be the back-up behind Gardner.
Leading rusher Dominique Brown returns after he had 163 carries for 825 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 24 catches for 228 yards and a touchdown. Louisville must replace Senorise Perry now with the Chicago Bears. He had 141 carries for 677 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 18 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown. Michael Dyer (44 carries, 223 yards and 2 touchdowns) and freshman L.J. Scott both had impressive springs. Dyer is doubtful with a quad injury.
Receiver DeVante Parker is back after making 55 catches for 885 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Damian Copeland is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Copeland had 58 catches 780 yards and 5 touchdowns. Sophomore James Quick was a five star recruit coming out of high school and should be a capable replacement for Copeland. Eli Rogers had 44 catches, 536 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Gerald Christian had 28 catches for 426 yards and 4 touchdowns. Kai De La Cruz had only 15 catches but 3 went for touchdowns.
Four starters return to an offensive that will be among the best in the ACC.
Louisville was #1 in total defense and #2 in scoring defense. only four starters are back for the Cardinals on defense.
Miami is 5-0 ATS in September, 3-8 on fieldturf, 1-4 in road games, 1-6 in ACC games, and 1-7 overall.
Louisville is 13-3 ATS in conference games, 1-4 at home and on fieldturf.
Both teams are battling injuries or suspensions to key players. Still Louisville has the luxury of playing at home. We will see if Kaaya is ready to play in the big lights of prime time in a nationally televised game. I like the Cardinals to win a close game.
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