Over/Under 7 Wins () vs Louisville Cardinals ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Louisville Cardinals 8:00 PM
Location : Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 7 Wins vs Louisville Cardinals
Bobby Petrino has been really good in his second stint as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals as he has led them to a 34-18 record over the last 4 seasons but Petrino faces one of the toughest challenges of his lengthy career this upcoming season. Petrino will have to replace his Heisman trophy winning quarterback who paved a foundation for this program. This isn’t the only challenge that Petrino faces as he will have to break in a new defensive coordinator as well as break in 9 new starters on the defensive side of the ball. Brian VanGorder will fill the void as the defensive coordinator but this is a high-risk high-reward hiring as VanGorder was fired back in 2016 after only 4 games at Norte Dame. Petrino was average on the recruiting trail as his class ranked 7th in the ACC but he was able to keep the #2 recruit in the state of Kentucky with CB Jairus Brents electing to stay in his hometown of Louisville. Bobby Petrino and Louisville will have to impress some people this year if they want any chance of retaining their contender status in the ACC Atlantic.
Over/Under 7 Wins's Latest Performance :
Louisville was solid in 2017 as they ended the regular season with an 8-4 record and a bowl appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl which they would go on to lose. Lousiville is missing some key pieces for the 2018 season whether its Lamar Jackson, the top 3 running backs, or 9 starters on defense which has prompted oddsmakers to set the over/under at 7 wins.
Not only does Lousiville have to break in a new starting QB this season but they get the advantage of doing it against the defending national champions in the Alabama Crimson Tide as they will meet in a neutral site matchup. Lousiville can find themselves in a blowout real fast if their defense doesn’t come to play and that reasonable considering the state the defense currently is in. Another tough matchup for Lousiville this season is their ACC road matchup against the defending ACC champions in the Clemson Tigers. Outside of Florida State Lousiville will have a fairly nice home schedule as they will welcome in Indiana State, Western Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, and Kentucky which are all winnable games for the Cardinals. Louisville will have to put everything on the table if they want any shot of finishing inside the top 3 of the ACC Atlantic.
Louisville Cardinals's Latest Performance :
As I stated Lousiville ended one of their best eras in the history of the football program as Lamar Jackon left for the NFL Draft. Bobby Petrino is now tasked with the duty of replacing a guy who combined for 4961 yards and 45 TDs last season which is not an easy task. The lead guy out of spring ball is former 4-star recruit Jawon Pass who will be entering his redshirt sophomore season. Pass resembles Jackson’s game as best as any QB on the roster in terms of dual threat capabilities but the youngster only has 192 passing yards to his name which could be a problem considering the defenses he will have to face. Luckily for Pass, Lousiville returns their top 3 pass catchers in Jaylen Smith, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Seth Dawkins who combined for over 2321 yards and 20 TDs last season. The running backs may benefit the most in Jackson’s exit as they should see more carries. Dae Williams was the 4th leading rusher for the Lousiville Cardinals last season as he rushed for 235 yards but given the departures of the top 3 rushers, Williams should be the starting running back this season. Louisville will have to figure out things on the defensive side of the ball as they are returning only 2 starters from the 8-4 2017 team. A good player to build your defense around is sophomore linebacker Dorian Etheridge who had 72 tackles in his true freshmen season which was good for 2nd on the team. The secondary will go through the toughest change as they are replacing guys who contributed to 11 of the 13 interceptions in 2018. Freshmen Jairus Brents could step in as a true freshman and compete for a starting role as he was one of the best cornerbacks in all of high school last year.
Player To Watch
Micky Crum, TE, RS Sr.
Micky Crum has been mostly known as a really good blocking tight end during his tenure at Louisville but I can see the veteran pass catcher playing a major role in the passing game this season. The reason I see Crum making a jump from his 99-yard season in 2017 is because most young QBs (Jawon Pass) see the TE as a safety valve when in trouble and will dump it off to them. Crum can compile more than double the amount of yards he had in 2017 if he can find some empty holes in the defense and become a big open target for the first-year starter. Expect Crum to play a much bigger role in the passing game as the veteran pass catcher should improve his game in his final year.
How Over/Under 7 Wins & Louisville Cardinals Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 7 -110
Under 7 -110
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- Alabama- L
9/8- Indiana State- W
9/15- Western Kentucky- W
9/22- @ Virgnia- W
9/29- Florida State- L
10/5- Georgia Tech- W
10/13- @ Boston College- L
10/27- Wake Forest- W
11/3- @ Clemson- L
11/9- @ Syracuse- L
11/17- NC State- L
11/24- Kentucky- W
Overall Record- 6-6
Against The Spread Selection: Under 7 Wins -110
My reason for the pick :
Louisville will do enough to become bowl eligible but in terms of betting the over/under, I see Louisville sitting under the 7 win mark due to the uncertainty on both sides of the ball. A game like Alabama can really put a young teams confidence through the dirt which is something I see as a high probability especially considering Alabama is a powerhouse once again. Jawon Pass will experience some growing pains in his first season as the starting quarterback and the defense will not be able to support him as they are learning a whole new scheme and replacing pieces themselves. If you can jump on Louisville going under the 7 win mark hop on it now as I don’t see how this team wins 8 games.