Louisville Cardinals vs Central Florida Knights Odds, Picks, Predictions (9/9/22)

Louisville has Malik Cunningham, the Senior quarterback that has consistently proved himself as one of the more dynamic players in the ACC. They had 14 returning starters and looked poised to have a dominant offensive season and an improved defense.

How did they get shelled by Syracuse?

In the meantime, Central Florida looks dangerous in the American Athletic. There’s a lot to love about the Knights, and their 56-10 Week 1 win over South Carolina State backs that up.

Can Louisville bounce back? Or Will the Knights roll in this one?

Read on for our Louisville Cardinals vs Central Florida Knights odds, picks, and predictions.

Louisville Cardinals vs Central Florida Knights

Given the two teams’ relative Week 1 results, the Knights opened as 6.5-point favorites. The line even touched 7 for a second before immediately being bet back down to 6.5.

This might be an overreaction line. The Cardinals are not a joke of a football team, but rather just had a bad game.

The total feels correct at 61.5, and the line hasn’t budged. The smarter money is coming in on the over, but it’s not enough to seriously track the line.

Louisville Cardinals vs Central Florida Knights Prediction & Pick

Louisville did just one thing poorly against Syracuse: The Cardinals died in the red zone.

On both sides of the ball, too. The Cardinals crossed Syracuse’s 40-yard line five times and came away with seven points. On the other side, the Orange crossed Louisville’s 40-yard line five times and came away with 24 points.

The respective totals are 4.8 Points Per Opportunity for Syracuse, and 1.4 for Louisville.

Last season, Louisville finished with 4.5 Points Per Opportunity on offense, which was top-20 nationally. Their defensive Points Per Opportunity was much worse, but it’s slightly better than what they allowed in this game.

I’d project some major positive regression for Louisville moving forward.

Because this is still a great offense. Cunningham put up an 82.7 PFF grade passing in 2021 and a ridiculous 90.7 run grade. The Cardinals averaged 6.2 yards per play against Syracuse and had a 53% Success Rate on Standard Downs before garbage time. Without the three turnovers, that could be a different game.

I am uber high on UCF going forward, but there’s nothing to glean from a blowout win against South Carolina State and this is a big overreaction. I project this game close to a PK and will be all over the Cardinals here.

Louisville Cardinals vs Central Florida Knights Key Matchups

Key Matchup No. 1: Scott Satterfield vs The Bounce House

The Knights are 30-2 SU and 17-15 ATS at home in the last five seasons. Central Florida has one of the best home-field advantages in the FBS.

Coach Satterfield has never coached here. Louisville is also 4-14 SU on the road since 2018, and this is the first time with back-to-back true road games to open the Cardinals’ season since 2003.

Satterfield needs to have his team prepared and locked in for this one.

Key Matchup No. 2: Malik Cunningham vs Gus Malzahn

Coach Malzahn brings back eight starters on defense including nine of his top 12 tacklers from last season.

But he’s lost three starters on the defensive line from a team that was sub-70 nationally in Rush Success Rate allowed. That does not bode well against Cunningham, who can dual-threat that line all night long.

Malzahn has to have his team prepared to handle this dynamic offense with this dynamic quarterback.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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