Sugar Bowl Betting Preview: #22 Louisville Cardinals vs #3 Florida Gators
2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl
Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
#22 Louisville Cardinals vs #3 Florida Gators
Mercedes Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Opening Line: Florida -13 1/2
Current Line: Florida -14 1/2
Opening Total: 45 1/2
Current Total: 48
Opening Money Line: Florida -525 / Louisville +425
Current Money Line: Florida -600 / Louisville +475
The #3 Florida Gators are 11-1 this season as they take on the #22 Louisville Cardinals who are 10-2 in the Sugar Bowl Wednesday night. This is the third meeting between the schools. Florida leads the series 2-0 but they haven’t played since 1992.
Louisville is 7-8-1 all-time in bowl games. The Cardinals lost to North Carolina St 31-24 last year in the Belk Bowl. Lousiville has gone to 3 straight bowl games. Louisville has never played in the Sugar Bowl before this game. Florida is 20-19 all-time in bowls, including 3-5 in the Sugar Bowl. The Gators have qualified for 22 straight years, the second longest streak in the country behind Florida St at 31. Florida has won 4 straight bowl games including 24-17 over Ohio St in the Gator Bowl last year.
After a 9-0 start Louisville lost two straight games under coach Charlie Strong. Strong was an assistant coach at Florida for 15 years before becoming the head coach at Louisville in 2009. The Cardinals did rebound with a 20-17 win at Rutgers to force a four way tie for the Big East title between Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, and Syracuse. Louisville received the Big East’s BCS bid by virtue of being the only one of the four ranked in the BCS Standings.
The Cardinals have losses at Syracuse 45-26 and at home against UConn 23-20 in triple overtime. Louisville has home wins over Kentucky 32-14, Missouri St 35-7, North Carolina 39-34, South Florida 27-25, Cincinnati 34-31 in overtime, and Temple 45-17, along with road wins at Florida International 28-21, Southern Miss 21-17, and Pitt 45-35. The Cardinals are 5-7 ATS and the total is 6-5 this season.
Louisville is averaging 425.7 yards per game on offense, including 298.6 passing and 127.1 rushing yards. Louisville is #23 in passing and 100th in rushing out of 124 teams. The Cardinals are outscoring opponents 31-24 this season. Louisville is in the top 50 in total and scoring offense. Louisville is +9 in turnovers with 12 giveaways. The Cardinals are averaging 56.5 penalty yards per game and have allowed 26 sacks. Louisville is 92/184 on third and fourth down conversions, and 48/50 scoring in the red zone with 34 touchdowns. The Cardinals are allowing 344.8 yards per game on defense, including 193.8 passing (#19 nationally) and 151.1 rushing yards. Louisville has forced 21 turnovers and 19 sacks. Cardinal opponents are 72/178 on third and fourth down conversions and 33/38 scoring in the red zone with 26 touchdowns.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has completed 267 of 387 passes (69%) for 3,452 yards with 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. He has been sacked 23 times. He is probable with a fractured wrist on his non-throwing hand. If Bridgewater can’t go, Will Stein will get the start. Stein has only thrown 34 passes this season but he and Bridgewater platooned last year at quarterback.
Running back Jeremy Wright has 186 carries, 740 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 38 catches for 306 yards and a touchdown. Senorise Perry ha5 136 carries, 705 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 181 yards. He is out for the season with a leg injury. Bridgewater has 68 carries, but no other Cardinal has more than 12 carries. Receiver DeVante Parker has 38 catches, 712 yards and 9 touchdowns. Damian Copeland has 44 catches, 597 yards and a touchdown. Andrell Smith has 30 catches, 481 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Eli Rogers has 42 catches, 443 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jeremy Wright has 38 catches, 306 yards and a touchdown.
Florida was 7-1 in the SEC under Will Muschamp. The only loss came to Georgia 17-9 in Jacksonville. Florida has won 4 straight games. The Gators have home wins over Bowling Green 27-14, Kentucky 38-0, LSU 14-6, South Carolina 44-11, Missouri 14-7, Louisiana-Lafayette 27-20, and Jacksonville St 23-0, along with road wins at Texas A&M 20-17, Tennessee 37-20, Vanderbilt 31-17, and Florida St 37-26 to close out the regular season. The Gators are 7-5 ATS and the total is 4-7 this season.
Florida is averaging 338 yards per game on offense including 143.4 passing yards and 194.6 rushing yards. The Gators are #103 in total offense, #103 in total offense, #118 in passing, and #34 in rushing. Florida is outscoring teams 27-13. The Gators are #76 in scoring and #3 in points allowed. Florida is +17 in turnovers with only 12 giveaways. The Gators average 66 penalty yards per games and have allowed 36 sacks this season. Florida is 68/178 on third and fourth down conversions and 35/42 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns. On defense, Florida is allowing 282.6 total yards per game, including 186 passing and 96.6 rushing yards. The Gators are #5 in total defense and against the rush, and #12 in pass defense. Florida has forced 29 turnovers and 25 sacks. Gator opponents are 56/186 on third and fourth down conversions and 23/32 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel has completed 140 of 216 passes (64.8%) for 1,471 yards with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, with 108 carries, 404 yards and 4 touchdowns. Driskel has been sacked 33 times this season. He is probable with an ankle injury. Back-up Jacoby Brissett started the Jacksonville St game and took some snaps in mop-up duty. Brissett has 249 passing yards with a touchdown pass, along with a rushing touchdown.
Running back Mike Gillislee is probable with a rib injury. He has 235 carries, 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns, along with 15 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown. Matt Jones has 49 carries, 259 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 3 catches. Trey Burton has 24 carries, 166 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 17 catches, 164 yards and a touchdowns. Solomon Patton and Mack Brown will also get a few carries.
Receiver Jordan Reed has 44 catches, 552 yards and 3 touchdowns. Quinton Dunbar has 31 catches, 306 yards and 4 touchdowns. Frankie Hammond has 20 catches, 273 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Omarius Hines has 20 catches for 208 yards along with 18 carries, 148 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Six Florida defensive players are listed on the injury report.
Louisville is 5-1 ATS after rushing for less than 100 yards, 7-2 against teams with winning records, 6-2 after allowing less than 20 points, 35-17 in non-conference games, 2-5 after a straight up win, 0-5 after a cover, and 0-4 after allowing 280 passing yards or more.
Florida is 4-0 ATS in Bowl games and in January, 5-1 after a cover, 19-7-1 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 8-3 in neutral site games, 22-9 in non-conference games, 7-3 after a straight up win, 6-14-1 against teams with winning records, and 1-4 overall.
Even if Driskel and Gillislee aren’t 100% I still like Florida because of their dominant defense. I don’t see Louisville scoring a lot even though their passing offense is among the best in the country. Florida should win handily.
Our college football handicappers are red hot this season. We have winners for every bowl game.