Bluegrass Battle in Lexington: Louisville Cardinals at Kentucky Wildcats Free Betting Picks

Louisville Cardinals at Kentucky Wildcats
Commonwealth Stadium – Lexington, Kentucky
Saturday, September 17, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Kentucky -8 (all odds courtesy of bookmaker)
Current Line: Kentucky -4 1/2
Opening Total: 43
Current Total: 41
Opening Money Line: Kentucky -240 / Louisville +200
Current Money Line: Kentucky -200 / Louisville +170

Kentucky is a 4.5 point favorite at home against arch-rival Louisville. Wiseguys are playing Louisville as the line dropped from Kentucky -8 in the opener.

It’s John Calipari versus Rick Pitino as Louisville and Kentucky meet again. It should be a great match-up with Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith for Louisville against Darius Miller and Terrance Jones for Kentucky. What a game this will be! What’s that you say, this is football not basketball? Instead of two elite basketball teams that can contend for the national title we get two mediocre football teams that struggle to score? Oh sorry, my bad. I got confused for a little bit.

I am kidding, of course. Well not about the mediocre teams part. Louisville is 1-1 under coach Charlie Strong with a 21-9 win over Murray St and a 24-17 loss last week at home to Florida International. Kentucky is 2-0 under coach Joker Phillips but has narrow wins over Western Kentucky 14-3 and Central Michigan 27-13. In each game Kentucky had to score late to put the game away.

Lousiville and Kentucky are meeting for the 24th time. Kentucky leads the series 14-9 including 8-6 in Lexington. Kentucky has won the Governor’s Cup 5 year’s in a row including 23-16 last year in Lousiville.

If you look at the statistics Louisville completely dominated Florida International last Friday at home. Louisville had 446 total yards including 363 passing yards. They had 24 first downs and 10/24 on third and fourth down conversions. The biggest problem was Louisville turned the ball over 2 times including a 71 yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter that proved to be the difference in the Panthers’ 24-17 win. At one point Louisville found them selves down 21-3 in the second quarter thanks to two long touchdown receptions by FIU receiver T.Y. Hilton of 74 and 83 yards. Louisville pulled to within 7 points with 1:49 left in the game as the Panthers could only manage a field goal for the rest of the game. However Lousiville failed to recover the onside kick and Florida International ran out the clock. The Panthers had only 293 total yards, and Hilton had 201 of those. FIU only had 9 first downs in the game.

Louisville is averaging 415.5 yards and 19 points a game. The Cardinals are averaging 294.5 yards passing a game. The problem has been penalties and turnovers for the Cardinals. They have turned the ball over 6 times and are averaging 7 penalties a game. The Cardinals have also allowed 7 quarterback sacks  this season, another problem area as it leads to a lot of 3rd and longs. Louisville has converted 19/42 third and fourth downs  this season; 42 third and fourth downs is a lot for two games. Louisville is allowing 192 total yards and 16.5 point s a game. The Cardinals are allowing 94 rushing yards a game. Louisville has forced 3 sacks and 3 turnovers this season. Cardinal opponents are 15/35 on third and fourth downs.

Louisville quarterback Will Stein 47/75 passing with 575 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Running back Victor Anderson has 22 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown along with 7 catches for 45 yards. Jeremy Wright has 29 carries for 85 yards, and two catches for 12 yards. Receiver Josh Chichester has 8 catches for 150 yards and no touchdowns. Michaelee Harris has 7 catches, 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. DeVante Parker has 7 catches, 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kicker Chris Philpott is 5/5 on extra points and also has a 30 yard field goal this year.

For the second week in a row  Kentucky needed a late score in order to secure a win over a team they should have dominated. Kentucky was down 13-6 at halftime to Central Michigan but the Wildcats scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to win 27-13 and cover the 10 point college football betting line. Kentucky had 344 total yards, including 230 rushing yards. The Wildcats had 14 first downs and 4/13 on third and fourth down conversions. Kentucky had 2 turnovers in the game. Central Michigan had 383 total yards including 295 passing yards. They also had 2 turnovers in the game.

Kentucky’s offense hasn’t been great this season, but they are 2-0 thanks to a strong defense. Kentucky is averaging 267 yards a game and 20.5 points a game. The passing game is only averaging 105.5 yards  a game. Kentucky has 5 turnovers and has allowed 6 sacks this year. The Wildcats are 7/27 on third and fourth down conversions. Kentucky is allowing 308.5 total yards and 8 points a game on defense. The Wildcats are allowing 114.5 rushing yards a game. They have forced 6 turnovers and 2 sacks. Kentucky opponents are 14/38 on third and fourth down conversions.

Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton has struggled this season with 16/36 passing, 211 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 20 carries 72 yards and a touchdown. Running back Josh Clemons has 25 carries, 165 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Raymond Sanders has 21 carries for 97 yards. Receiver La’Rod King has 7 catches for 142 yards, and 2 touchdown catches. Kicker Craig McIntosh   is 5/5 on extra points and 2/3 on field goals with a long of 45 yards.

Kentucky is 1-1 against the spread this season and both games have gone under. Louisville is 0-2 ATS and both of their games have gone under the total as well. The Cardinals  7-1 ATS in the last 8 road games, including 5-1 in the last versus teams with winning records, 4-1 ATS in the last 5 following a straight up win, 4-1 ATS in the last 5 as a road underdog. Louisville is 31-12 ATS in their last 42 non-conference games, and 1-5 ATS in the last 6 September games. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 20 points or fewer in the previous game, and 21-9 in their last 30 September games.

Don’t expect a lot of points in this match-up, as both offenses struggle to move the ball and have good defenses. Kentucky has dominated this series recently winning 5 straight, but the Wildcats have struggled to replace quarterback Mike Hartline and the versatile receiver Randall Cobb.  The wiseguys are playing Louisville as you can tell by the 3.5 point swing. Kentucky opened at -8 and is down to -4 1/2. I still think that is too much as this looks like a field goal game. One interesting thing is there are some of 4 1/2’s and  5 1/2’s out there so the possibility of a 5 point middle exists for savvy bettors.

Check out our college football odds page for the best lines on every game.  Our red hot college football handicappers are crushing the sportsbooks this season.

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