Big East Betting Preview: Louisville Cardinals at Cincinnati Bearcats

Louisville Cardinals at Cincinnati Bearcats
Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, October 15, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big East Network, SNY, Altitude, ESPN Game Plan
Opening Line: Cincinnati -12 1/2
Current Line: Cincinnati -16 1/2
Opening Total: 49 1/2
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cincinnati -650 / Louisville +475
Current Money Line: Cincinnati -800 / Louisville +550

Zach Collaros and the Cincinnati Bearcats are 16 1/2 point favorites at home over Louisville in the Big East opener for both schools.

The 2-3 Louisville Cardinals travel to the 4-1 Cincinnati Bear Cats in the Big East opener for both teams. Cincinnati leads the overall series 28-21-1, and has won 3 straight including 35-27 last year in Louisville. The Cardinals are coached by Charlie Strong, and have wins at home against Murray St 21-9 and at Kentucky 24-17. Louisville has losses at home to Florida International 24-17, and Marshall 17-13, and last week at North Carolina 14-7. Cincinnati is coached by Butch Jones and has home wins over Austin Peay 72-10, Akron 59-14, North Carolina St 44-14, and two weeks ago at Miami-Ohio 27-0. The only loss came at Tennessee 45-23, but the Bearcats have one three straight games since then.

Louisville and North Carolina were scoreless midway through the third quarter. The Tar Heels ended winning 14-7 but didn’t cover the 14 point college football betting line. The game also went way under the 46 point total. Louisville didn’t score until  there was only 42 seconds left to avoid the shutout. The Cardinals actually had more yardage than the Tar Heels 273-264, for what it’s worth. Each team had one turnover and there were 16 total penalties.

Louisville is averaging 342.8 yards and 16.4 points a game. The Cardinals are averaging 225.8 yards passing a game. Louisville is rushing for 117 yards a game.  The problem has been penalties and turnovers for the Cardinals. They have turned the ball over 9 times and are averaging just under 9 penalties a game. The Cardinals have also allowed 18 quarterback sacks  this season, another problem area as it leads to a lot of 3rd and longs. Louisville is 36/84 on third and fourth down conversions  this season, and 7/11 scoring in the red zone with 5 touchdowns. Louisville is allowing 298.2 total yards and 16.2 point s a game. The Cardinals are allowing 85.2 rushing yards a game. Louisville has forced 15 sacks and 5 turnovers this season. Cardinal opponents are 35/85 on third and fourth down conversions, and 10/12 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns.

Louisville quarterback Will Stein is 49/79 passing with 615 yards, 5 touchdowns and an interception along with 22 carries for 2 yards. Stein is questionable with a shoulder injury and has missed the last two games. If Stein can’t go, Teddy Bridgewater will be the starter. Bridgewater is 51/80 passing for 514 yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 30 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. Bridgewater is more mobile than Stein and can escape more sacks behind the leaky offensive line. Running back Victor Anderson has 36 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown along with 11 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Anderson missed the UNC game with an ankle injury and is listed as probable against Cincinnati.  Jeremy Wright has 43 carries for 151 yards, and 4 catches for 17 yards. Dominique Brown has 43 carries for 170 yards, along with 4 catches for 39 yards and a touchdown catch. Receiver Josh Chichester has 15 catches for 234 yards and no touchdowns. Michaelee Harris has 16 catches, 183 yards and 1 touchdown. DeVante Parker has 9 catches, 141 yards and 3 touchdowns. Parker also missed the North Carolina game with an injury.  Josh Bellamy has 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.  Kicker Chris Philpott is 10/11 on extra points and is 2/5 on field goals with a long of 30 yards. Louisville cornerbacks Stephan Robinson and Andrew Johnson are both questionable with ankle injuries. Cornerback Darius Ashley is suspended indefinitely.

Cincinnati traveled to rival Miami-Ohio two weeks ago and cruised to a 27-0 victory to easily cover the 16 point college football betting line. Neither team really moved the ball that well. The Bearcats had 398 yards including 251 passing yards. Cincinnati had 4 turnovers in the game. The Bearcats held Miami to  267 yards including -3 rushing yards and forced 2 turnovers including a 17 yard fumble return for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros threw for 251 yards, a touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Collaros was also the leading rusher for the Bearcats with 89 yards. Running back Isaiah Pead rushed for only 49 yards but had 2 touchdowns.

Cincinnati is averaging 440 total yards including 220.8 rushing yards. Cincinnati is averaging 45 points a game which is the ninth best scoring offense in the country. The Bearcats have allowed 5 sacks and have 5 turnovers. Cincinnati is 34/69 on third and fourth down conversions, and 24/28 scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns. Cincinnati is allowing 348.6 total yards a game including the 5th ranked rushing defense allowing only 70.6 yards a game. Unfortunately, the passing defense allows 278 yards a game which is #104 out of 120 teams. The Bearcats allow 16.6 points a game. Cincinnati has forced 18 sacks and 18 turnovers this season. Bearcat opponents are 26/77 on third and fourth down conversions, and 9/11 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns.

Collaros is 84/133 passing with 1,035 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 3 touchdowns, along 38 carries, 182 yards, and 3 scores. Pead has 72 carries, 473 yards, and 7 touchdowns along with 8 catches, 54 yards, and a touchdown catch. Six other players besides Collaros and Pead have rushing touchdowns this season. Receiver Anthony McClung has 23 catches, 281 yards, and 3 touchdowns. D.J. Woods has 21 catches, 254 yards, and a touchdown. Kenbrell Thompkins has 19 catches, 249 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Adrien Robinson has only 4 catches, but has 102 yards and 2 scores. The Bearcats have no players listed on the injury report, pretty lucky for being 6 weeks into the season.

Cincinnati is 4-1 against the spread this season and the total is 3-2 this season. Louisville is 2-3 ATS and the total is 0-4-1 in those games. Cincinnati is 2-0 ATS the last two seasons against Louisville. The Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games versus a team with a winning home record, 5-0 ATS in the last 6 road games, 4-0 ATS in the last 4 as underdog of 10.5 points or more, 6-1 ATS in the last 7 following a straight up loss, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 as a road dog, 2-5 ATS in the last 7 on turf, 5-14 ATS in the last 19 conference games, and 1-4 ATS following a game where they failed to cover. The Bearcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 as a favorite, 4-0 ATS as a home favorite,  4-0 ATS as  a home favorite of 10.5 points or greater, 4-0 ATS on turf, 5-1 ATS versus a team with a losing record, 4-1 ATS in the last 5 home games, and in the last 5 overall, 6-2 in the last 8 October games, 22-10-2 ATS in the last 34 after a cover, 3-9 ATS in the last 12 following a straight up win, and 1-5 ATS in the last 6 conference games.

If you look at Louisville’s results so far, every game has been decided by 12 points or less, and no game has gone over 41 points. This is because Louisville has a dominant defense and an anemic offense. This team really doesn’t get blown out, and I think they can hang around the number with their defense, despite being banged up in the secondary and at the skill positions. Cincinnati struggled to score against Miami and could do the same against the Cardinals. Apparently, the wiseguys disagree with me, because the line opened at Cincinnati -12.5 and climbed to -16.5 points.

Check out our college football odds page to shop and compare the best lines for every game. Our college football handicappers are having a great season as we approach the mid-point of the season.


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