Utah Utes vs. Louisville Cardinals Preview and Pick

Utah Utes (2-3) +15, o/u 61 at Louisville Cardinals (3-2), 8 pm Eastern Friday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Louisville Cardinals look to regain a bit of their lost luster when they host the Utah Utes in a non-conference bout Friday night in Derby City.

Louisville was a pre-season consideration for a run at an undefeated season and a big BCS bowl until they lost at Kentucky three weeks ago 40-34 on a long catch-and-carry TD in the last minute of the game. The Cardinals then followed that up with an astounding 38-35 loss to Syracuse as 37-point home favorites.

The ‘Ville broke that two-game losing streak last week with a 29-10 win at North Carolina State as nine-point road chalk.

Utah has lost to Oregon State, Air Force and UNLV already this season, but pulled an upset three weeks ago when they crunched UCLA 44-6 as 15-point home underdogs. The Utes followed that up with a lackluster 27-0 defeat in Las Vegas, then beat Utah State last week 34-18 as 21-point home favorites.

Neither of these teams has been any good to their financial backers this season; Utah is 1-4 against the spread this year, Louisville 1-3.

The Utes are 0-2 both straight up and vs. the numbers this year on the road, while the Cardinals are 2-1 SU but 0-2 ATS at home.

Utah is 0-2 in the Mountain West Conference so far this year, while Louisville is 0-1 in the Big East.

Statistically speaking, the Utes are outscoring their opponents this season by a 19.4-19 point-per-game average, while the Cardinals are out-pointing foes 46-28.

Utah is getting outgained, though, by a 350-304 yards-per-game margin, and outrushed 198-92.

Louisville is outgaining its foes by a 595-417 YPG margin, and is outrushing opponents 202-141.

Utes junior QB Brian Johnson, who missed two games earlier this year after separating his shoulder, has started 12 games in his collegiate career. This year Johnson has completed 62% of his pass attempts and owns a 3/2 TD/INT ratio.

Cardinals senior QB Brian Brohm, with 26 career starts under his belt, has hit on 67% of his throws this season and owns a 16/4 TD/INT ratio.

These two teams have met twice in their histories, but not since 1998.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Utah 84th at 66.7, Louisville 29th at 79.5.

The o/u is 2-3 in Utes games this season, which are averaging 38 points per. The totals are 2-2 in Cardinals games, which are averaging 73 points per.

Louisville opened up as 14 1/2-point home chalk for Friday’s game, with a total of 62, and those numbers have stayed fairly firm at most college football sportsbooks.. Also, the Cardinals are listed at around -600 on the moneyline, with Utah getting +500.