Unbeaten and 16th-ranked Louisville is still dreaming of a perfect season, but Cincinnati is not. The Bearcats were upset by Toledo last weekend, deflating a little bit of hype out of Friday night’s marquee Big East matchup.
The Cardinals opened as 4-point home favorites and have moved (slightly) down to -3.5.
What follows is a breakdown of the point spread for the game, with news, notes, quotes and anecdotes to help you make your bets.
Keep in mind: The “edge” is merely a suggestion, and not something we necessarily recommend playing.
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CINCINNATI AT LOUISVILLE, 8 P.M. ET
OPENING POINT SPREAD: Louisville -4 | CURRENT: Louisville -3.5 | OVER/UNDER: 51.5 | TV: ESPN
SUMMARY: The Cardinals are looking for their first 8-0 start since 1925 and they’re hoping to end a four-game losing skid against one of their biggest rivals. Louisville has beaten only one team (North Carolina) with an above-.500 record this season and has looked skittish in narrow victories over far inferior opponents, most recently in a 27-25 squeaker against South Florida. Cincinnati’s dreams of a perfect season are dashed, but the Bearcats are still very much alive in the Big East race and this is the biggest game left on their schedule. The over/under on this game took a dive early Friday morning from 53.5 to 51.5.
STORYLINES: Cincinnati was definitely guilty of looking ahead during its 29-23 setback at Toledo last weekend, but the Bearcats were also the victims of some bad luck.
They outgained the Rockets by more than 100 yards and didn’t give up an offensive touchdown, instead choosing to surrender two scores via a 75-yard interception return and a 91-yard kickoff return.
Louisville has a huge edge at quarterback in this matchup, with Teddy Bridgewater leading the Big East in passer rating (165.2) and ranking third nationally in completion percentage (73.4).
“I have high expectations of myself,” Bridgewater told reporters this week. “My goal every game is to be at 80 percent (completion percentage) or higher.”
Meanwhile, Cincinnati is forced to go with more of a ground-based attack (tops in the Big East at 1,359 yards and 5.9 yards per attempt) because quarterback Munchie Legaux throws nearly as many passes into the turf as he does into his receivers’ hands.
Legaux ranks 110th nationally with a 53.3 completion percentage.
EDGE: You always wonder how a team will respond after losing its first game of the season, so backing Cincinnati has to make you at least a little nervous. That angle—combined with the quarterback discrepancy—makes us give an ever-so-slight “edge” to Louisville in this one. The Cardinals tend to play up or down to their opponents this season, and they should be more than “up” to face one of their biggest rivals.