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College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for USF vs. Louisville: Ride Malik Cunningham to Pay Window?

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for USF vs. Louisville: Ride Malik Cunningham to Pay Window? article feature image

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Malik Cunningham (Louisville)

USF vs. Louisville Odds

Saturday, Sept 24
12 p.m. ET
USF Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-115o / -105u
Louisville Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-115o / -105u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

A noon kickoff in USF vs. Louisville might produce the unexpected.

Here, we have a Bulls team coming off a near-win over the Florida Gators as 23-point underdogs. It would have been the program’s best win in years. Instead, USF dropped a heartbreaker, and now has to gameplan against of the nation’s most-talented quarterbacks.

But it’s not all butterflies and rainbows for the Cardinals, either.

They’re coming off a road loss to FSU to move to 1-2 (both straight-up and against the spread), as they continue to underwhelm for bettors under Scott Satterfield.

It’s a non-conference, early kick, with two teams in potential hangover spots. Let’s get weird.

South Florida Bulls

USF ran for 286 yards en route to outgaining Florida, but it couldn’t put the final nail in the coffin.

The Bulls will likely rely on the ground game for the time being, both due to comfort and available resources.

Wide receiver Xavier Weaver caught 75% of Gerry Bohanon’s 12 completions, and rung up 82 of the quarterback’s 112 yards vs. the Gators. After that, good luck finding the necessary production outside to keep a Power Five defense on its toes.

USF’s receiving room is in danger of being thin for Louisville, with Jimmy Horn Jr. and Ajou Ajou both questionable for Week 4.

After the Bulls let Florida’s Anthony Richardson go off for 115 yards on the ground in 2021, they managed the damage in Week 3 this year, limiting the dual-threat quarterback to just 24 yards on seven rushing attempts and 112 yards with two picks through the air.

Can they do it again in Week 4 against another mobile quarterback?

Louisville Cardinals

There’s a good chance the three teams Louisville’s played this season are either neutral or above market expectation.

The Cardinals lost to Syracuse Week 1 as 5.5-point favorites, but the Orange all of a sudden look competent. UCF, which Louisville beat as a ‘dog, and Florida State are also loaded with athletes and aren’t slouches.

USF hung with a spotty Florida team, but here are the facts: This will be the easiest opponent of the season, by far, for the Cardinals.

Malik Cunningham is still making defenses pay despite a slow start. He’s statistically improved as a rusher and passer in every game this season, and is fresh off of his best game of the year vs. the Seminoles.

Defensively, Louisville is struggling, especially against the run. The Cardinals are being gashed for 201.5 rushing yards, as they own one of the worst units in Line Yards.

And they’re going to get a big dose of it versus a run-heavy USF offense.

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USF vs. Louisville Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how USF and Louisville match up statistically:

USF Offense vs. Louisville Defense
Rush Success 4 69
Line Yards 12 123
Pass Success 128 27
Pass Blocking** 8 65
Havoc 22 51
Finishing Drives 48 68
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Louisville Offense vs. USF Defense
Rush Success 55 20
Line Yards 35 88
Pass Success 83 107
Pass Blocking** 31 92
Havoc 93 66
Finishing Drives 88 75
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 25 121
PFF Coverage 18 77
SP+ Special Teams 89 36
Seconds per Play 26.7 (72) 25.9 (56)
Rush Rate 53.8% (66) 58.3% (38)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

USF vs. Louisville Betting Pick

It’s a bad spot for both teams, but likely worse for the Bulls — they’re on the second of a back-to-back road game and coming off of a heartbreaking loss in an early-ish time slot.

USF’s offense thrived on the ground, but Florida was down its best defender in Ventrell Miller, forcing Gators head coach Billy Napier to shuffle freshmen linebackers last week. Florida’s defense also isn’t all that special to begin with, folks.

The optics for Louisville don’t look great — its an awful tacking team and has struggled stopping the run — but I reckon a big part of that’s due to the opposing strength of schedule.

USF was a hot commodity in a near-upset win, but let’s not get crazy here. Jeff Scott’s club is just 2-11 against the spread in the last 13 after a cover, and I don’t think this game is as important to USF as it is for Louisville to finally get a tune-up before conference play.

The Bulls have been worse than the Cardinals against the run (234.3 YPG), setting Cunningham up for what should be his best game of the season.

Pick: Louisville -14.5 (Play to -16.5)

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