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Pick - Analysis
This was set to be one of Louisville's toughest games entering the season, and it remains that way. If UCF could have held onto its lead against South Carolina a couple weeks ago, this would have been a battle of two undefeated teams. While the Knights aren't undefeated anymore, they still won't be an easy task for Louisville. The Cardinals come in as -12.5 home favorites at 5 dimes sportsbook.
Louisville doesn't face a ranked team all year (as of now), but it's not like we can't give them credit for being undefeated. They still have to show up every game against these teams. Without a Top 25 test, how amped up are these guys getting every week? The win last week against Rutgers may be an example of that, as Louisville scored just 24 points. The Scarlet Knights allowed 52 points against SMU the previous week.
No matter, Louisville has a top offense and its defense is currently tops in the nation in points allowed. Of course, their competition hasn't been all that difficult.
The Cardinals are led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is set to be one of the top QBs taken in next year's NFL draft. His numbers look great, but again, that isn't saying much at this point. UCF will be a tough task, but Bridgewater should still come close to 300 yards. His favorite targets are Damian Copeland and DeVante Parker, who have combined for nine of Bridgewater's TDs. Both will be a problem for the Knights' secondary. Senorise Perry heads the backfield. He hasn't surpassed 13 carries in a game yet, but averages six yards per carry.
Against bigger teams like South Carolina and Penn State, Central Florida's defense had problems, allowing 59 points in those two games. It's going to be up to UCF's offense, which won them the game at Penn State.
Blake Bortles leads the offense at QB with nine passing TDs. He led the Knights to a 10-4 record and a bowl win in 2012 and is already doing the same this season at 4-1. His top receiver is Breshad Perriman, who has caught 100 yards in three games already. UCF pounds the running game with Storm Johnson (455 yards, seven TDs) and if they can get him going against Louisville, they can keep this game close. Unfortunately, the Cardinals are stout on the line, as they gave up only 12 team rushing yards to Rutgers last weekend.
Run the ball to keep Bridgewater off the field is the route UCF has to take. If that doesn't work, it's going to be on Bortles to keep pace. That's not out of reach, though.
The Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS loss. The Cardinals have not covered in four straight October games and have not covered in two straight overall. This is technically a conference matchup as UCF joined the AAC this year, but the teams have not played each other since 1985.
Check back on Friday afternoon for a pick on this game
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