The No. 10 Louisville Cardinals will face the Miami Hurricanes for their last road test of the season this Saturday (11/18/23) at noon ET. Get Louisville vs. Miami odds, picks and predictions below. Our best bet is Louisville on the moneyline at -105.
Louisville vs. Miami Prediction
Louisville is one of the few teams that still has a definite chance to make the College Football Playoff. But its path is very narrow, and the Cardinals do not control their own destiny. Louisville does have the ability to determine its own fate within the ACC. Win out, and it will finish 11-1, earning a spot in the ACC title game. The Cardinals will most likely face Florida State there. If Louisville can pull off that upset, they’d be 12-1 with a conference title, and a pretty great statement win against the Seminoles.
Whether or not that would be enough to reach a semifinal depends upon what happens in other conferences and the resulting resumés of their best teams. But before any of that becomes a question, Louisville has to get there by winning out.
That journey will continue with a visit to South Florida, where Miami will be playing host for the last time this season. The Hurricanes started strong this season with a 4-0 record heading into conference play. Since then, they’re just 2-4 in the ACC, with some crushing losses. The infamous botched end-game management against Georgia Tech sticks out as a lowlight, but last week’s close call at Florida State was also a crusher. Head coach Mario Cristobal’s job is called into question just about every week, and embattled quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is only on the field at this point because of an injury to his backup. So the motivation will be high for many of the Hurricanes’ key figures.
This game should be an engaging defensive battle. Miami is a very solid 29th in the country in defensive EPA per play. Louisville ranks fourth, a testament to their remarkable performance on that side of the ball this season. These teams have very similar strengths and weaknesses on defense as they’re both better at defending the run than the pass.
Things differ a bit on the other side of the ball. Louisville’s offense does well enough through both the air and ground. Miami has really struggled to establish the run. That’s no coincidence, as Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan is perhaps the best offensive player on either side, as he averages nearly seven yards per carry, is approaching 1,000 ground yards on the season and has scored 11 times.
Jordan could be a difference maker, but in a game with two great run defenses, air superiority is going to be key. Miami’s quarterback situation is simply too tenuous to believe in them to succeed in that facet of the game, so we have to stick with Louisville, the 12th-best team in the country by EPA per play, to pull off the modest “upset,” which won’t feel like an upset in the eyes of many.
Louisville vs. Miami Prediction: Louisville ML (-105)
Louisville vs. Miami Best Betting Odds
Miami is a very narrow home favorite, with a spread of -1 or a moneyline set at -115. For Louisville, that moneyline is set at -105, essentially even money, while both sides of the total of 46.5 are -110.
Louisville vs. Miami Key Matchups
With two phenomenal run defenses in this one, both teams will look to move the ball primarily through the air, even as they both feature pretty solid pass defenses as well. Let’s take a look at how it might play out.
Louisville Passing Game vs. Miami Air Defense
Louisville’s Jack Plummer has certainly had an up-and down-season throwing the football, but he’s had some good performances of late. He’s had a clear favorite target, wideout Jamari Thrash, who is averaging a whopping 15 yards per catch. He has more than twice as many receiving yards as any other Cardinal with 734. He’s scored a team-high six times through the air. The Cardinals’ offensive line also grades 28th in PFF’s pass blocking grade, it’s a well-balanced unit with all starters grading in the 70s by that metric.
They’ll be attacking a Miami secondary that is unfortunately in rather poor health, with multiple cornerbacks set to either be limited or out. Safety Kamren Kinchens is expected to play, but has clearly been less than 100%. The defensive front is in better shape. It ranks 10th in PFF’s pass rush grades, with edge rusher Rueben Bain Jr. and linebacker Francisco Mauigoa leading the way with 6.5 sacks apiece. The Hurricanes’ pass defense ranks 53rd by EPA per play, nearly a perfect match for the 55th-ranked Louisville air game, so this should be a great matchup.
Miami Passing Game vs. Louisville Air Defense
A positive passing performance from Van Dyke will be key for Miami as they look to get the air game going. He surely earned his benching, as he’s thrown seven interceptions since his last touchdown, including one against FSU in relief despite throwing just seven passes. He has a solid receiving room to work with, highlighted by deep threat Jacolby George and possession man Xavier Restrepo. Miami has the nation’s 11th-best pass blocking line as per PFF, but Van Dyke’s ability to make the throws is very much in question.
Louisville’s pass defense has been phenomenal, ranking 21st in the country by EPA per play. They’ve done it with a secondary that ranks 50th in PFF’s rankings, supported by a pass rush that checks in at No. 12 by the same measure. Ashton Gillotte has been a standout with an even 10 sacks and a pass rush win rate of 18.6%, while Devin Neal leads the team with four picks.