NCAA Football Odds, Predictions: No. 24 Louisville Cardinals at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Everett Golson-notre-dameLouisville-Notre Dame
Time: Sat, 2:30 PM CST
Spread: ND -3.5

No. 24 ranked Louisville is 7-3 on the season and will take on Independent Notre Dame this week.

The Fighting Irish are also 7-3 and will find itself 3.5 points favorites at home against the Cardinals this week in college football odds at Bovada.

Louisville has been sensational defensively. The Cardinals are holding opponents to just 17.8 points per game (10th in the NCAA), while the offense hasn’t been too bad either, scoring 31.6 for a point differential of plus-13.8 points. Last week, the Cardinals beat Boston College 38-19, but that was following a disappointing loss to Florida State.

In the contest against FSU, the Cardinals led 24-21 going into the fourth quarter but surrendered three TDs in the final period as FSU put it away. The loss dropped Louisville to 4-3 in the ACC this season, while FSU remained unbeaten in conference play.

Louisville QB Will Gardner has hardly been the threat Teddy Bridgewater was. He’s thrown for 1,669 yards, but has just a 57.5 percent completion ratio with 7.55 yards per reception. Last week, Gardner was 13-of-19 for 188 yards, though he did get 9.9 yards per attempt. The Cardinals had 423 yards and completed 6-of-13 third downs in the 21-18 victory over Boston College.

The Cardinals top three options in the backfield have all been good for 370 yards or more this season. Brandon Radcliff leads the team in yardage (445), average yards per carry (5.1) and TDs (8). The Cardinals also have four receivers with 300 yards or more, and have managed 16 reception TDs this season. James Quick, Eli Rogers and Gerald Christian account for 10 of those.

Notre Dame has dropped two straight after losing to Northwestern last week in OT, and losing 55-31 against then-No. 9 Arizona State on Nov. 8. The Fighting Irish were 7-1 prior to that point, and have had success this year with the pass. The Irish rank 15th in the country in passing yardage with 304.4 yards per game, helping the offense average 35.4 points per game. ND has a plus-8.3 point differential this year.

Senior QB Everett Golson has improved on an impressive 2012 campaign here in his senior season. He’s thrown for 3,044 yards at a 60.7 percent clip, while also completing 8.14 yards per attempt. Golson has been sacked 21 times, but he’s thrown 27 TDs to just 12 INTs, while posting a passer rating of 146.5.

Golson has thrown for 300 yards or more in five of Notre Dame’s games this season, while posting a passer rating of 150 or more on five occasions, as well.  He’s battling a sprained AC joint but should be good to go for this game.

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