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Louisville Cardinals vs. Ohio Bobcats Free Pick 9/1/13

Ohio Bobcats (9-4) at Louisville Cardinals (11-2)

NCAAF Football: Sunday, September 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm (Papa John's Cardinal Stadium)

The Line: Louisville Cardinals -16 -- Over/Under: 55 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The 9th ranked Louisville Cardinals have lofty expectations in 2013 as they stop off for a brief stay in the American Athletic Conference before heading to the ACC.  The Cardinals welcome the Ohio Bobcats to town to kick things off September 1st at 3:30 PM.

Louisville shocked most everyone with their dismantling of a highly favored Florida Gator team in last year’s sugar bowl.  The Cardinals showed that playing in a weaker conference meant nothing as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater diced up one of the best defenses in the country in Florida.  Bridgewater will be a heisman front runner this year after throwing for over 3700 yards and 27 td’s last year.  On offense, Bridgewater is joined by his top target -- wideout DeVante Parker and running back Senorise Perry who should step in and effectively replace Jeremy Wright.  A big spotlight will be on former Auburn tailback Michael Dyer who was a key contributor to Auburn’s title team before falling out of favor there and transferring.  Dyer should get opportunities to perform and he has proven to be a handful for opposing defenses.  The Cardinals also return key starters from a defense that was a handful for opposing offenses last year.  Charlie Strong’s system is fully in place and the Cardinals are a sleeper national title contender.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Ohio Bobcats Free Pick 9/1/13

USA Today Sports

Ohio enters 2013 with lofty expectations as well after a 9-4 season that saw an upset victory on the road at a solid Penn State team and a bowl victory over Louisiana-Monroe.  The Bobcats are should factor heavily into the MAC title race and could be improved as key players who were injured late last year hope to return to full form.  The Bobcats lose some key players on the line but have depth there and expect Kendrick Smith and Nic Barber to step right in and anchor the unit.  Keith Moore and his team leading 86 tackles return as well.  On offense, the Bobcats best skill players all return and are led by Beau Blankenship (1,604 yards and 15 td’s) and Donte Foster (659 yards and 8 td’s).

Some trends to consider -- Ohio is 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 non-conference games and Louisville is 7-15 against the spread in their last 22 home games.

I think the sky is the limit for Louisville this season and I fully expect them to win this game.  I also like the Bobcats team a lot and expect them to challenge for double digit wins as well.  Look for Ohio to win the time of possession battle with Blankenship and company getting a lot of carries and for the dynamic duo of Bridgewater and Parker to be the difference down the stretch.  I like the Bobcats with the cover and the Cardinals with the 2 TD win.

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Ohio +16

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