Miami Hurricanes at Louisville Cardinals (-3.5,
Louisville begins the second Bobby Petrino era – and its
inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference – when Miami
(Fla.) pays a visit on Monday night in a rematch of last
season’s Russell Athletic Bowl. Petrino, who coached the
Cardinals from 2003-06, returned to Louisville after Charlie
Strong became the head coach at Texas. However, the excitement
surrounding Petrino’s return was tempered somewhat by the loss
of star wideout DeVante Parker, who broke his foot in practice
Aug. 22 and will miss up to eight weeks.
“We’re fortunate that we have a lot of experienced players,”
Petrino said after losing Parker, who had 55 catches for 885
yards and a school-record 12 touchdowns last season. “You’re
never going to replace a guy like DeVante with just one guy.
You’ve got to do it collectively with all the weapons that we
have, stepping up and making more plays.” Perhaps nobody will
be more affected by the Parker injury than sophomore
quarterback Will Gardner, who was just named Louisville’s
starter last week. Miami has a challenging quarterback
situation of its own as freshman Brad Kaaya takes over behind
center with starter Ryan Williams sidelined with a torn ACL.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Cardinals opened as 2.5-point
favorites and have been bet up slightly now sitting at -3.5.
The total has risen slightly from 53.5 to 54.
INJURY REPORT: Miami: QB Kevin Olsen – out
(suspension). Louisville: RB Michael Dyer – questionable
WEATHER REPORT: There will be a nine mile per hour
wind blowing towards the north end zone at Cardinal Stadium.
There will also be a 20 percent chance of rain and a chance of
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We opened Louisville -3 and
the total 5 and now sit on Cards -3.5 and 54. On Aug. 2 we got
sharp play on Louisville and on the 23rd we got wiseguy play on
the under 55. Fifty-six percent of the cash and 59 percent of
bets on the spread are backing Louisville and 69 percent of
bets and 77 percent of cash on the total is taking the over.” –
Mike Perry of Sportsbook.ag.
ABOUT MIAMI (2013: 9-4, 5-8 ATS): While all
eyes will be on Kaaya, the bulk of Hurricanes’ heavy lifting on
offense will likely be handled by junior running back Duke
Johnson, who ranked third in the nation in all-purpose yards
per game (174.1) before breaking his ankle in early November.
“We have the potential to be great,” Johnson said, “but what
I’m hoping for is to finally win the Coastal Division and the
Atlantic Coast Conference championship. If I need to carry the
load then I will, no problem. But I believe I have enough
weapons around me to where I don’t have to.” Among the weapons
that surround Johnson is wideout Stacy Coley, who led the team
with seven receiving touchdowns as a freshman in 2013.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (2013: 12-1, 6-7 ATS): The
Cardinals, who are beginning play in their third conference in
as many years, are coming off a season in which they only
suffered one defeat – a three-point loss to Central Florida in
mid-October – and closed the campaign by routing the
Hurricanes, 36-9. Star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is now
with the Minnesota Vikings, leaving Petrino to put his faith in
Gardner, who was impressive in limited action last season
(8-of-12, 112 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions). On
defense, Louisville has to replace seven starters but does
return its two starting cornerbacks in upperclassmen Charles
Gaines and Terell Floyd.
* Hurricanes are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Cardinals are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 conference games.
* Over is 4-0 in the Hurricanes last four conference games.
* Under is 5-1 in the Cardinals last six games overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The consensus is close in this
matchup with just over 51 percent of wagers on the Hurricanes
at +3.5. The consensus is very slightly favoring the over 54.