Prior to the pandemic, Miami and Louisville weren’t supposed to play each other. Now, both still projected to be two of the better teams in the ACC, they have to play each other in the second game of the season.
D’Eriq King Provides Needed Spark
Miami maybe didn’t look amazing in its opening 31-14 win, but fans got a taste of what new quarterback D’Eriq King brings to the table. After a couple years of subpar quarterback play, King provided an immediate spark against UAB, mainly rushing for 83 yards.
He still has some ways to go passing the ball after averaging 6.0 yards per pass, but his legs will be a problem for most defenses. Also in that win, Cam’Ron Harris ran for 134 yards and a couple touchdowns, highlighted by a 66-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
The benefit for Louisville is that it already faced a run-first quarterback in its opener, a 35-21 win over Western Kentucky.
For the most part, the Cardinals did a solid job on Tyrell Pigrome, a Maryland transfer, holding him to 129 passing yards and 68 rushing yards. As a team, WKU had 119 rushing yards on 3.4 yards per carry. Of course, King is a bit more lethal and Miami is a better team overall than WKU.
Miami Controlled 2019 Game
That was seen when these teams met last year as the ‘Canes did whatever they wanted in a 52-27 win, averaging 11 yards per pass and 6.2 yards per rush. If that happens again, it doesn’t really matter what Louisville does offensively.
The difference between these teams is that Louisville prefers to pass behind quarterback Micale Cunningham, who threw for 343 yards in the opener and averaged 11.5 yards per attempt last season.
Cunningham was the main reason some thought Louisville could at least be competitive with Clemson before the schedule was turned on its head. But while the Cardinals probably prefer to pass, they can still run the ball between Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall.
Not to mention, the Cards ran for 4.8 yards per carry in last year’s meeting and it remains to be seen if Miami’s defense can be as good as last season after not really being challenged by UAB, allowing 14 points and less than 300 total yards.
Miami has the better overall team mainly because its defense returns a slew of starters from a group that allowed 20 points per game last season.
Throw in the dynamic King at quarterback and last year’s 52 points scored against Louisville, and it’s not easy to bet the home team. Still, there will always be money on Cardinals this season no matter the matchup, mainly because of what Cunningham and the offense can do.
This game has the potential to be a good one. Using data from last season our model has Louisville on top by 1 to 3 points with 49 to 53 total points scored.
We lean towards Miami here and really like what D’Eriq King bring to the table for the Miami offense.
The total on this game opened 61 and as of Wednesday has gone as high as 65. We’re going to take the added value here and go under that total. Both defenses should be improved this year and using 2019 data we have the total 10 points lower.
Louisville/Miami Under 65
Lean – Miami +2.5 (becomes more interesting at +3)