The battle for Kentucky has been controlled by Louisville the past two years and last year it wasn’t much of a battle with the Cardinals winning 32-14. This might not even be considered the battle for Kentucky, as the Wildcats lost to Western Kentucky in their first Game of the season. Currently, as of this writing on Monday, Louisville is a -12 point road favorite at both 5 Dimes Sportsbook and GTBets.
Led by Heisman hopeful Teddy Bridgewater, there aren’t going to be many teams on the Cardinals Schedule this year that can stop him. Bridgewater already has 752 yards and nine TDs on the season. He’s spreading the ball out as well with Four guys having more than 125 receiving yards. That also means that none of their running backs have more than 100 yards, but that doesn’t really matter after outscoring their first two opponents 93-14. Last year’s matchup was a bit of an anomaly as Louisville had two 100-yard rushers and Four rushing TDs. And while Bridgewater completed 90 percent of his passes, he didn’t have a touchdown. That likely won’t be the case this season.
Louisville hasn’t faced an offense as good as Kentucky’s yet, and that will be the only chance the Wildcats have. Led by Maxwell Smith, they are actually scoring more than 33 points per Game. Obviously, they haven’t faced a team like the Cardinals yet, but it’s still a good sign.
Smith wasn’t that bad in last year’s matchup, going a solid 35-for-50 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. The difference is that the Wildcats were overpowered at the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball. So far, Kentucky has ran the ball quite well this season, averaging 6.7 yards per carry as a team, but that number will surely go down after this Game. Because of that reason, Smith will have to air it out once again. On the season, he’s thrown for 435 yards and Four TDs, and he didn’t even start the first Game.
If Smith can’t get things going early in the Game, the result won’t be good for the Wildcats because Bridgewater will most likely be gunning from the start. Kentucky can’t get down early if they want to have any chance in this Game. It’s going to take a lot from the Wildcats on both sides of the ball.
Louisville is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 road Games and has plenty more trends that point in its favor. The same can’t be said about Kentucky, who is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 Games overall and a dismal 1-9 ATS in its last 10 Games following an ATS win. The only positive for the Wildcats is that they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home Games vs. a team with a winning road record. In this meeting, the road team has covered in Four of the last five Games.
Our model, using last years numbers and stats has Louisville winning by 17. We’re not thrilled with the idea of laying double digits on the road especially when 4 of the last 6 in this series were close. Perhaps the total, when those numbers are posted later in the week, will present more value. For now, a lean towards Louisville -12