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Louisville At Kentucky Rivalry has Kentucky Favored by 14

9/19/09

The College Football season is in full swing, and you know what that means; rivalries. There is nothing quite like college rivalries. One of the best rivalry games this week will be that between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals. True, this game would be more interesting if it were basketball, but donít discount it. Kentucky easily took last yearís meeting by a score of 27-2. Louisville will seek to return the favor this year, but it wonít be easy. Kentucky is a whopping 14 favorite at offshore sportsbooks with an over/under total of 47.

The Louisville Cardinals opened the season with a fairly easy 30-10 win over Indiana State at home. QB Justin Burke played poorly, passing for 223 yards and 2 INTs. The running game was very strong. RB Victor Anderson had 93 yards and 2 TDs. Bilal Powell added 73 more yards and another TD. WRs Doug Beaumont and Scott long were both strong picking up 69 and 68 yards respectively. The defense made up for Burkeís 2 INTs by coming up with 4 turnovers of their own. Louisville was able to hold their opponent to just 101 yard of total defense. They will have to play with the same vigor against the Wildcats.

RB Victor Anderson played very well in the first game of the year and will probably be the centerpiece of the offense. He is a compact but strong runner who is among the best in the Big East. Louisville has several good LBs, including Jon Dempsey. The defense looks to be much improved from 2008 when it ranked 70th in the country. Problems could arise at the QB positions. Justin Burke didnít play very well, and Coach Craglethorpe has several guys gunning for his starting spot. The Cardinals have several speedy WRs, but none of them have big game experience. If this team wishes to knock Kentucky off they will have to move the ball effectively on the ground and keep Kentucky from putting up big points.

Things couldnít have gone any more perfectly for Kentucky in their first game of the year. They got to play at Paul Brown Stadium (Home of the Cincinnati Bengals) against the Miami RedHawks, and they absolutely dismantled them winning 42-0. Mike Hartline passed for 222 yards and 2 TDs. This is encouraging because there were questions surrounding his consistency coming into this season. RB Derrick Locke picked up 61 yards and a TD on 8 carries. Moncell Allen also added 57 rushing yards and a TD. WRs Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews both caught a TD pass.

Although Kentucky was able to put big points up on Miami, there are concerns about how they will handle more legit defenses. Particularly those of their SEC rivals, but even the Louisville defense could cause problems for them. Derrick Locke and Moncell Allen must do a good job of picking up yardage on the ground. The Kentucky defense is the strength of the team. They have a deep defensive line that can make problems for opposing QBs, and stop the running game. Micah Johnson is a force at LB, and CB Trevard Lindley is All-SEC material. Both will make huge problems for the Louisville offense. They need to keep the pressure on QB Justin Burke and force him to throw INTs.

No question Louisville has been down a few notches the last couple of years after a great run of winning anywhere from 9 to 12 games a year for most of this decade. They faltered in 2007 and in 2008, winning 6 and 5 games respectively after coach Bobby Petrino left town. Kentucky on the other hand, after years of 2 and 3 win seasons has strung together 2 8 win seasons and a 7 win season a year ago. Rich Brooks has the Wildcats competitive.

But we think Kentucky might be getting a little too much respect in this line. This line opened up at -11 at bookmaker.com and has been bet up to -14. We feel the value now lies with Louisville getting two touchdowns.
 

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