Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals Odds & Picks
There have been few quality match-ups across the college football landscape over the past two opening weeks. However, that will change this Saturday when ACC action heats up when the no. 18 Louisville Cardinals host the no. 17 Miami Hurricanes at Cardinal Stadium. The Hurricanes opened their season last Thursday with a 31-14 victory over UAB while covering the 15 points spread in the process. Meanwhile, Louisville opened their season at home on Saturday with a 35-21 victory over Western Kentucky while also covering a 13 point spread. With wins over inferior opponents in the rear-view for both teams, this Saturday's match-up will be the first true test of the season and provide a measuring stick of each team's contenders in the ACC.
Currently, the Cardinals are listed as just 1.5 point betting favorites over the Hurricanes, which is slightly surprising. I expected Louisville to be a somewhat bigger favorite when you combine the progress the team experienced last year in Scott Satterfields' debut going 8-5 SU following a two-win season in 2018 and the returning key contributors coming back on the offensive side of the football. While there is legitimate optimism that Louisville can take another step forward in Satterfields' 2nd season, there remains significant concerns on the defensive side of the football. Louisville ranked 109th in scoring defense last year, allowing 33.4 points per game, and they were routinely torched by opposing offenses giving up as much as 500 total yards on six different occasions. For Louisville to improve again this year, the defense has to be better, and we should have a pretty good idea where they stand after taking the field against Miami's offense on Saturday.
Can the Hurricanes compete offensively?
We know that Louisville has a flashy and efficient offense. The question this Saturday comes down to Miami's offense and their ability to exploit the weakness in Louisville's defense. The Hurricanes were really bad in 2019 on the offensive side of the football, averaging 367 total yards and just 25.7 points per game. Both of those stats barely ranked inside the top 100 teams across the country. In last week's 31-14 win over UAB, Miami appeared to have improved, albeit against inferior competition. The Hurricanes racked up 334 yards on the ground and made it look easy at times. Running back Cam'Ron Harris finished with 134 yards with two touchdowns, and quarterback D'Eriq King had another 83 rushing yards with a touchdown.
While Miami racked up a ton of yards on the ground, King did not look exactly sharp throwing the football, especially down the field. The good thing is that Miami rarely got into stressful situations or needed to stretch the field. However, I question if Miami can sustain their success running the football as the competition level picks up over the next few weeks. In last year's 52-27 win over Louisville, quarterback Jarren Williams torched the Louisville defense by throwing six touchdowns through the air. However, I am not confident they have that same ability with King behind center in this match-up. It will be interesting to see if the Hurricanes remain focused towards a run-heavy centric approach or if they attempt to test the Cardinals defense down the field.
Cardinals offense has opportunity to shine
As much as the Louisville defense scares me this week, I see more upside in the Cardinals offense. Quarterback Micale Cunningham threw for 343 yards with three touchdowns and one pick in last week's win over Western Kentucky. The Cardinals offense was expected to be strong this year, and they have a lot of talent at the skill positions to attack opposing defenses. Cunningham has NFL caliber receivers in Tutu Atwell and Dez Fitzpatrick. Not to mention running back after rushing for more than 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
To put it simply, Louisville has weapons all over the field on the offensive side of the ball, and they should be able to keep the pressure on Miami's defense. I respect Miami's talent on the defensive side of the football, but I simply believe Louisville has enough weapons to keep them guessing. I expect Louisville's defense to be improved in Satterfields' 2nd year, but even if it's not greatly improved, the Cardinals offense will keep them in this game and give them the best chance at victory.
- Miami is 4-2 ATS in their last six games against ACC opponents.
- The total has hit the "under" in 13 of the last 20 games for Miami.
- Louisville is 4-1 ATS in their last five games, going back to the previous season.
- The total has hit the "over" in 11 of Louisville's last 15 games against ACC opponents.
- Louisville is also 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings against Miami.
- Get more details: Miami at Louisville Match-up Stats
Miami at Lousiville Prediction 9/19/20
Unless the Cardinals defense completely implodes, I believe Louisville is the better all-around team, and I really like the potential involving the Cardinals offense going forward. I see too much upside in the home team to ignore and will back Louisville with confidence!