Ohio Bobcats vs. No. 9 Louisville Cardinals Free Pick
Sunday, Sept. 1, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
NCAAF Betting Odds: VietBet
Pointspread: Louisville -20.5
Total Line: 58
The Bobcats went just 4-4 straight-up in the Mid-American Conference last season but they were a perfect 5-0 SU in non-conference play to finish the year 9-4. They were not the best team in the world to wager on especially away from home. Ohio went 5-8 against the spread overall with a 2-5 ATS record on the road. The total stayed UNDER in four of those seven road games.
Senior Tyler Tettleton returns as the Bobcats’ starting quarterback. Last season he threw for 2,844 yards and 18 touchdowns, but his best season was in 2011 as a sophomore with 3,306 yards and 28 touchdown throws. Also back is Beau Blankenship to help lead a rushing game that averaged 203.3 yards a game in 2012. Overall, Ohio averaged 31.7 points a game while allowing an average of 24.8 points on defense.
Louisville is not only being touted as a heavy favorite to win the newly formed American Athletic Conference title, but as a legitimate contender for a run at a berth in the BCS title game. Last season the Cardinals earned a share of the final Big East title at 5-2 SU and went on to stun Florida 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl as 14.5-point underdogs to finish with an overall record of 11-2 SU. This was another tough team to bet on with a 6-7 record ATS.
The main reason for such high expectations is the return of Heisman hopeful quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He completed an impressive 68.5 percent of his passes last season for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns. Louisville was ranked 24th in the nation in passing with an average of 296.1 yards a game which helped produce an average of 31.2 points a game. This was complemented by a bend but do not break defense that held opponents to 23.8 points a game.
This is going to be a much tougher matchup then the current spread might suggest. The difference in the level of competition between the MAC and the old Big East was not as wide as you would think and the Bobcats fully realized that this game is a perfect opportunity to prove this point on a national stage. The Cardinals will still win this game by a comfortable margin but the free pick in this matchup is Ohio and the 20.5 points.
Louisville 34 Ohio 23