Louisville at Kentucky
Time: 11 AM CST (SECN)
Spread: LOU -3
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Louisville Cardinals have been one of the pleasant surprises of 2019. The Cardinals have fared 7-4 thus far, and it has won its last two games over NC State and Syracuse by a combined total of 90 to 54. It will face cross-state rival Kentucky in Lexington Saturday as 3-point favorites. The betting total is set at 52.5 points, and the game will kick off at 11 AM (CST) on the SEC network.
The Louisville Cardinals’ offense is a little predictable, but it is only so because its top-two key players are so crucial. Freshman running back Javian Hawkins has come as a huge surprise, rushing for over 1,200 yards in his first season. Then, of course, quarterback Micael Cunningham has done immense damage with both his arm and his rush game.
The Cardinals rank No. 25 in rushing yards nationally with 214.5 per game. Its passing offense is middle-of-the-pack (No. 62). Even so, the two combine to form a very effective scoring offense that generates 34.5 points per game. The Cardinals’ Achilles’ heel has been its defense, though, as Louisville surrenders 32.8 points per game this season. Recruiting efforts will focus on obtaining some playmakers and pass rushers because teams have had it just entirely too easy against the L-ville “D” this season.
Cunningham has been as proficient as a passer as could have been expected, even if the primary focus has been rushing the football. Cunningham has completed 62.1 percent of his passes with 19 TDs and just four picks. His passer rating is nearly 200 (!). Adding to all this is his 3.9 yards-per-carry, 374 yards, and six rushing touchdowns.
Hawkins has crushed it, hailing from Cocoa High school, a program that has become a powerhouse in one of the toughest football recruiting areas in the nation. Hawkins has 1,278 yards and seven touchdowns. With a little more improvement he could challenge for a Heisman in his sophomore season, but Louisville is not getting ahead of itself with individual expectations.
The writing is on the wall: Improve that defense and become a legitimate AP-Ranked team, faster than anyone expected in this program’s rebuild.
The Kentucky Wildcats have fared reasonably well considering it just said goodbye to its all-time leading rusher last season. Kentucky is 6-5 and has gone 3-5 in SEC play this season.
The Wildcats also come in riding a two-game win streak after having knocked off Vanderbilt and UT Martin the last two weeks. It smashed UT Martin by a count of 50-7 as the Wildcats rushed for a pretty absurd 462 yards and six rushing touchdowns. Kentucky improved to 5-2 at home with the win.
Lynn Bowden Jr received a call-up to be the starting quarterback, but he did little more than struggle as a thrower (46.7 percent completions). Of course, that has little to do with why the natural wide receiver was even in the pocket.
Bowden leads the Wildcats in rushing yards and should eclipse 1,000 yards this week. He has rushed for seven touchdowns and averages 7.4 yards-per-carry. He also leads the team in receiving yardage with 348 yards on 30 catches and a touchdown. He is basically playing three positions and keeping the offense afloat, and it remains anyone’s guess what the junior will do if and when he assimilates to an NFL team in the future.
ATS TRENDS (C/o Covers):