Louisville Cardinals vs Connecticut Huskies Preview and Pick

Louisville Cardinals (4-3, 1-1 in Big East) -3, o/u 61 at Connecticut Huskies (5-1, 1-0), 7 pm Eastern Friday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Louisville Cardinals look to keep their bowl-bound ship afloat while the Connecticut Huskies try to become bowl eligible when the two teams meet for a Big East Conference bout Friday night in Storrs.

Louisville had pre-season thoughts of run toward another big bowl game. But the defense has been a concern all season, and that deficiency has cost them in losses to Kentucky, Syracuse (as 37-point home favorites!) and Utah. But the Cardinals managed to bounce back last week to beat Cincinnati 28-24 as eight-point road underdogs.

Connecticut is trying to become another one in the recent line of Big East teams to emerge as national players. And they got off to a 5-0 start, albeit by beating teams like Duke, Maine, Temple, Pitt and Akron, before losing their first game of the season last week at Virginia 17-16. The Huskies did manage to cover the spread, though, as three-point road dogs.

The ‘Ville is just 2-4 against the spread this season, but 2-1 both straight up and ATS on the road.

UConn is 3-1 vs. the numbers this year, 3-0 SU and 1-1 ATS at home.

The Cardinals beat the Huskies last December 48-17 as 29-point home chalk, with the game going over its total of 55. Louisville racked up a 570-236 advantage in total yards, led by a 20/28 341- 4 TD performance from QB Brian Brohm, and the outcome was never really in doubt.

This year Brohm, a senior and future NFL pick, has completed 68% of his passes for a 9.3 yards-per-attempt average and a nifty 23/4 TD/INT ratio.

On the other side of this match-up, Connecticut junior QB Tyler Lorenzen, a JC transfer in his first season as the starter for the Huskies, has hit on 62% of his throws this year for a 7.5 YPA average and 7/3 TD/INT ratio.

The Cardinals aren’t having problems moving the ball. They’re averaging 42 points and 560 yards of offense per game. But the Louisville defense is giving up 30 points and 447 yards per outing.

Meanwhile, UConn is outscoring opponents on average 33-12, outgaining them 375-264 and outrushing them 164-99.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Cardinals 33rd at 78.6, the Huskies 23rd at 80.7.

The o/u is only 3-3 in Louisville games this year, despite the fact that they’re averaging 72 points per. The totals are 2-2 in UConn games, which are averaging 45 points.

The Cardinals opened as three-point road favorites with a total of 63. And while the point spread has held steady in early betting action, the total has dropped to around 61 at most college football sportsbooks. Also, the ‘Ville is listed at about -155 on the moneyline, with the Huskies getting +130 as home dogs.

Zman’s Pick: I like the Huskies to win and cover as the dog here.