Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals Betting Picks and Predictions
16 September 2020
Date: Saturday, September 19th
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Venue: Cardinal Stadium
Spread: LOU -2.5
The 1-0 Miami Hurricanes and 1-0 Louisville Cardinals face off in a game that Vegas expects to be extremely close. The Hurricanes come in as the 17th ranked team in the nation while the Cardinals stand on their heels at 18.
It’s a game of differing styles as Miami runs a spread attack while Louisville plays more pro-style. The winner of this game will inch ever so closer to a coveted top-10 ranking and the loser will fall behind the eight-ball in a big way.
Miami Hurricanes Preview
Game one of the D’Eriq King experiment was a success as the Hurricanes took care of the UAB Blazers 31-14 in a game that was a bit too close for comfort. The Blazers pulled within three points midway through the third quarter before Miami responded with two immediate scores.
This was also the debut of offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, and it’s hard to complain about 31 points and 340 yards on the ground. The Hurricanes have some work to do week two with the passing game, but this spread offense is intended to keep defenses on their heels and it’s exactly what it did.
Cam’Ron Harris led the backs with 134 yards and two scores while King added another 83. Change-of-pace backs Jaylan Knighton and Donald Chaney Jr. combined for another 100+ yards and might be x-factors down the road.
The chemistry between King and his pass-catchers will grow after there were obvious issues in week one. You don’t learn how to play with a guy like King that can extend any play in just a game. Expect growth weekly in that realm.
Brevin Jordan is one of the best tight ends in the country and he’s leaned on heavily on third downs and in the redzone. Mike Hartley and Dee Wiggins start on the outside and will need to step up in this matchup.
Louisville Cardinals Preview
The Cardinals opened the season in a similar fashion with a semi-comfortable 35-21 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Micale Cunningham threw for a career-high 343 yards and added 3 TDs and another on the ground.
While the Hurricanes offense is a scary one with the addition of King, they are not as intimidating as these Cardinals. The balanced attack of this offense ranked 24th in total offense out of 130 teams in 2019 with over 450 YPG.
While the passing attack was impressive in week one, this is still a team that’s going to lean on their running game with one of the best in the country in Javian Hawkins. Hawkins ran for 1,525 yards and nine touchdowns on nearly six yards per carry. He’s going to be asked to run the ball 20 times in this matchup and will be an integral piece in controlling the pace and keeping King off the field.
When Lousville does pass the ball, they have some of the more explosive pass-catchers in the nation. Dez Fitzpatrick and Braden Smith both caught four balls for 110 yards and neither is even the top option. Tutu Atwell is regarded as a top-10 WR and he’s coming off a season in which he caught 70 balls for 1,276 yards and 12 TD’s. With Fitzpatrick and Smith both picking up another year of skill and experience, this passing game is going to be lethal as defenses won’t be able to hone in on just Atwell.
If they want to be the Hurricanes in this one, they’ll need to control the pace early and keep the Hurricanes from getting a lead. The Cardinals’ explosiveness comes from their balance and they can become one-dimensional if they fall behind.
This is going to be a phenomenal game and an exciting spot to catch College Gameday. The Cardinals haven’t had this much hype since Lamar Jackson was in college and this is a better overall team than he was ever involved with.
Don’t get me wrong, the Miami Hurricanes are going to make this game tough. D’Eriq King is one of the best athletes in football and he’s only going to get better every week in this offense. The weapons are there, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to stay with a Cardinals team that isn’t making any transition.
Louisville was already so dangerous in 2019 and it was the first season everyone played together. We’re now going into year two of Cunningham, Hawkins, Atwell, and Fitzpatrick playing together. With so much uncertainty around camp due to the pandemic, a team like Louisville will have a big advantage over one like Miami.
The Cardinals return nine of 11 starters on defense after ranking 3rd in the conference a season ago. The Hurricanes are going to score, but nothing will be easy and I expect a couple of turnovers from these aggressive corners. King is phenomenal, but he’s far from prone to making mistakes.
Louisville is going to spread the ball around early and often and Miami will have trouble figuring out who exactly to stop. If you stack the box, Atwell and Fitzpatrick will go wild. If you throw 2 safeties over top, Hawkins will average six yards per carry. Give me the Cardinals up to three points here.
The Pick: Louisville -2.5
I’m not willing to make a huge stand on the total and would much rather bet the spread if Louisville stays under that football number. I will lean the under here as 64 is just a lot of points for two teams that make their bread and butter on the ground. Hawkins and Harris are two running backs that will each see 20 touches in this game.
We’re also assuming Louisville has the lead, and they won’t speed things up much when Hawkins is barreling into the line over and over. I’ll advise to mostly stay away here, but don’t mind taking a shot on the under if you think these offenses are just a bit overhyped. Neither excelled against far inferior opponents a week ago.
The Pick: Under 64
Final Score Prediction: Louisville 31, Miami 28