Virginia vs. Louisville kicks off this Thursday (11/09/23) at 7:30 p.m. EST in Louisville, Kentucky as a home game for the Cardinals. Get Virginia vs. Louisville predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on Virginia’s team total under 14.5 as points may come at a premium for the Cavaliers.
Virginia vs. Louisville Prediction
After giving up 38 points in a loss to Pittsburgh, the Cardinals defense has really stepped up by holding their last two opponents to a combined three points. It was an impressive display against both Duke and Virginia Tech. Now, Louisville gets the chance to show out once again against a lowly Virginia squad.
While the Louisville offense needed some time to gel , it was the Cardinals defense that helped propel them to a great start. They currently rank seventh in Def Success Rate, 15th in Havoc and 55th in Explosiveness. But the Cardinals have had trouble when defending inside the red zone, dipping to as low as 78th in Def Points per Opportunity. Virginia will hardly rival that weakness as they rank a lowly 86th in Off Points per Opportunity.
Virginia’s struggles reside in more than just the red zone. The offense has had issues in every facet of the field. To go along with their 86th ranked Off Points per Opportunity metric, the Virginia offense as a whole also checks in at 78th in Success Rate, 105th in Explosiveness and 102nd in Havoc Allowed.
The Havoc Allowed mark is especially intriguing as the Cardinals have done a masterful job at creating disruptions, potentially generating a turnover to the benefit of the under. Virginia will want to continue to try and air out the ball as their offense has found slightly more success in the pass attack rather than the ground game. Factor in a huge spread in Louisville’s favor and the Cavaliers will be implementing a heavy dose of the pass just to try and stay within the number.
Not only does that potentially allow for more turnover-worthy plays, but that also plays right into the Cardinals defense hands. They excel at limiting the pass attack. As of this writing, Louisville’s secondary ranks 12th in Def Pass Success Rate and 13th in Def Pass PPA. Defending explosiveness has been an issue for their back end. But Virginia will be incapable of exploiting that weakness as they rank 92nd in Pass Explosiveness.
Virginia vs. Louisville Prediction: Virginia Team Total Under 14.5
Virginia vs. Louisville Best Odds
With massive advantages on both sides of the ball, oddsmakers had no choice but to open the Cardinals as a massive -17 favorite. Bettors believe that was still too low, betting Louisville up to as high as -20 as of this writing. That movement comes as no surprise as the Cardinals offense is starting to get into a groove after having to learn a whole new system, now complementing their high level of defensive play and rounding into a formidable unit.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a moderate pace as they opened the number at 46.5. Bettors believe that number opened too low, backing the over up to as high as 50.5 in some shops. A curious move as Virginia should struggle to do its part towards the over. But bettors may be predicting that Louisville will be in a position to routinely put-up points on the board.
Virginia vs. Louisville Key Matchups
Will the Cardinals Jawhar Jordan continue to run wild and keep drives alive for the Louisville offense?
Jawhar Jordan vs. Virginia Front Seven
It’s not just enough for Louisville’s defense to hold the Virginia offense in order to cash a team total under. For this to hit, we may also need the benefit of the Cardinals offense to sustain drives down the field to help burn time off the clock. That will be heavily predicated on Louisville’s Jawhar Jordan, the star running back who has carried their offensive success.
JAWHAR JORDAN IS TOO FAST🔥
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 8, 2023
He will be in a great position to do so as the Virginia defense has struggled just as nearly as much as their offense. The Cavaliers rush defense currently ranks 120th in Def Rush Success Rate and 123rd in PPA. Better yet, Virginia actually does a decent job at limiting the big gain, ranking 68th in Def Rush Explosiveness. That average rank may be just enough to limit quick Louisville trips, forcing more time off the clock through small gains rather than big plays.