Saturday, September 19- Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY – 7:30 ET
Spread: Louisville -2.5
ML: Louisville -137, Miami +116: Odds via The Action Network
By Logan Sella
College football, as of Wednesday, is officially coming back in my native state of Michigan and throughout the Midwest as the Big Ten is set to announce the opening of their conference season on October 17th , and damn it, if they’re gonna do it, then so am I!
I will make my debut in the college ranks after going 3-3 on the NFL in Week 1 (Shoutout to Stephen Gostkowsi, who got my Broncos pick across the finish line by himself, basically), and with what is, for my money, the unquestioned headliner on the college slate, the only game with two top 25 teams this Saturday.
Miami and Louisville both meet at 1-0, Louisville beating Western Kentucky last weekend 35-21, and Miami taking care of UAB 31-14. Both teams also employ 2nd-year head coaches with plenty to prove; Scott Satterfield for the Cardinals and Manny Diaz for the Hurricanes.
Speaking of headliners, the name on the marquee for this one has to be Miami QB D’eriq King- an early Heisman darkhorse. King was great under tragic circumstances last week, as he was 16/24 for 144 yards and a TD along with 83 more on the groundand another score, all while grieving the death of his father. He is as steady as they come, as he has a current NCAA-record streak of 16 consecutive games with both a touchdown on the ground and through the air. RB Cam’ron Harris chipped in a helping hand as well, rushing for another 134 yards on 7.9 yards/carry in the first game under new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
Three-year starter at QB Micale Cunningham will lead the way for the Cardinal offense, and he was sharp last week as well, throwing for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns on 19/34. His favorite target, 5’9 burner WR and Miami, FL native Tutu Atwell is looking to repeat on a 1,200+ yard campaign last season, and loves playing in his home state. He had 6 receptions for 142 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, the last time these two teams met.
There is some serious potential for fireworks (and the over) here: King at the wheel with Lashlee’s up-tempo offense made for the Hurricanes taking a whopping 78 snaps in their game against UAB last week, and Cunningham for the Cards is coming off a career week. Although it was a bit of a blowout, with Miami winning going away 52-27, 79 total points were scored in their last meeting. Both teams adding more offense in the offseason is nothing to sniff at, and bettors have noticed the promise of points here, moving the total from 59.5 at open to 64.5 as of now.
I would lean towards the over, but the extra 5 points seems like a little bit much to me. Miami will be without their leading receiver and rusher from a year ago (K.J. Osborne and Deejay Dallas, respectively), and Louisville’s defense was really good last week (10 TFL and 3 sacks), giving up scores only on two incredibly short fields after special teams errors, and then one late in the game to backups.
It is never great betting against the better quarterback, as King scares me, but Louisville -2.5 is the play here. Neither team will be playing the nonconference cupcakes they played last week, and I am a Scott Satterfield believer. His turnaround last season taking the Cards to 8-5 after a 2-10 dumpster fire in 2018 was impressive, and they field a veteran team, with 15 starters coming back from last year.
I am in a Cardinals state of mind: My baseball coach was born just outside of Louisville and celebrated a birthday this week, and L’ville legend Big Truss helped carry my fantasy team to a win last Sunday. L1C4 for $100 to win $87.
CFB Record: 0-0
Lifetime Record: 3-3, $100 bettor down $15.81