Louisville 2018 Betting Preview: Cardinals Must Replace Lamar Jackson And Entire Defense
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bobby Petrino
Louisville 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +70000
- To win the ACC: +4000
- To win the ACC Atlantic: +2200
- Makes Playoff: +8000
- Win Total: 7 (over -105, under -115)
All lines taken from 5Dimes on July 23. Always shop for the best line.
Louisville 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 6.8
Bet To Watch
Louisville Under 7 Wins (-115)
Louisville obviously took a hit with quarterback Lamar Jackson’s departure to the NFL. The Cardinals rank 124th overall in returning production — and the defense actually lost more personnel than the offense did.
Jackson spent his career running for his life behind an offensive line that couldn’t protect him. However, that unit may be the strength of a team that lost plenty of experience from last season.
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Louisville may have a completely different identity this year. If it does, coach Bobby Petrino will return to his roots. New quarterback Jawon Pass fits the mold of previous Petrino passers Ryan Mallett and Brian Brohm.
As for the defense, plenty of questions exist at every level with only two returning starters. New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was last seen leading a defense at Notre Dame — where he was fired four games into the 2016 season. He spent the past two seasons as an analyst at Georgia and Oklahoma State.
The schedule is downright brutal — starting with a neutral site game to open the season against reigning national champion Alabama. That initial point spread sits significantly above my projections, but Nick Saban owned Petrino in SEC play when the latter coached Arkansas. Petrino covered one point spread (a 24-20 loss in 2010) in his four head-to-head meetings with Saban.
Oh, and did I mention Louisville also has to travel to Clemson? Yikes.
Almost every other game on the schedule could go either way, but a brand-new defense could really struggle against Georgia Tech. Not only will it see the triple option for the first time, but that game comes a week after the Cardinals face Florida State at home.
With two certain losses and seven coin tosses for a team dealing with a ton of turnover, I’m rolling with under 7 wins.
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