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Louisville hosts North Carolina at 3:30 pm est on Saturday in a game that can be seen regionally on ABC. Louisville is a -3 point favorite at SBG Global and TopBet, with a total of 56, up from an opener of 51.
Last season in this game, North Carolina came away with a 14-7, home victory. This year's game will be completely different. Each offense has improved and both are fighting to finish the season in the Top 25. Louisville currently sits as the No. 19 team in the current AP poll while UNC dropped their chances after a loss last week.
So far, the Cardinals have coasted in their two wins, averaging over 30 points per game. A balanced and efficient attack has been the reason for their success. QB Teddy Bridgewater is noticeably improved since his freshman season a year ago. He has completed 81.7% of his passes for 576 yards. He only has two TDs, but Louisville is still very much a running team led by the attack of Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright. The duo has rushed for a combined 328 yards and five TDs on 67 carries. In addition, they have five receivers with at least six grabs and 50 yards. That's what you call balanced.
The UNC defense will be a different nut to crack though. Obviously a stronger foe coming from a power conference, but North Carolina is also a team that has a history of strong defenses. They stopped Wake Forest to just 1.9 yards per carry, but still lost the game due to allowing 362 passing yards. The Tar Heels are sixth in the nation in tackles for loss which says a lot about their defensive line.
On the offensive side, UNC is currently dealing with an injury to starting RB Giovani Bernard, but he practiced this week and may be able to go against Louisville. Stepping up in his place against the Demon Deacons were A.J. Blue and Romar Morris who did everything they could combining for 33 carries, 176 yards and two scores. Still, it won't be easy to replace Bernard again (if he can't go) who had 1,253 yards and 13 TDs last season.
Bryn Renner is an efficient quarterback for the Tar Heels, but the Louisville defense is one that gave him troubles last year as he finished with only 178 yards, his third worst total of 2011. A new spread hurry-up offense may be the key to break down Louisville's touted defense, though. While he likes to spread the ball, WR Erik Highsmith and TE Eric Ebron are his two main targets.
Louisville will come out fired up at home, ready to prove they deserve their ranking, but winning won't be easy as the spread shows. North Carolina still has a bad taste in their mouth from last week and will look to improve on their pass defense. If they don't, Bridgewater may be in for a field day.
The Cardinals are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games against the ACC, and a lot of those have been against the Tar Heels who are 0-4 in their last four meetings.
We have no opinion on the side here, but think the Under 56 may be worth a look. Both teams should find it more difficult this week to move the ball, than the previous two weeks. This total opened 51 and shot to 56, the value is now with the under. Under 56
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