Murray State vs Louisville Odds, Prediction: How to Bet Thursday’s NCAAF Game
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Louisville’s Jamari Thrash (left) and Ahmari Huggins-Bruce (right).
Murray State vs Louisville Odds
After having a full slate of weeknight games in Week 1, the schedule makers definitely decided to cut back for Week 2. In Thursday’s only college football game, the Louisville Cardinals will play host to an in-state foe in the Murray State Racers.
While it may not be the most exciting of matchups, that doesn’t mean there’s not a money-making opportunity.
Continue reading to for my full analysis and best bet for Murray State vs. Louisville in this NCAAF betting preview for Thursday, Sept. 7.
Murray State started its season a high note with a 41-10 win over Presbyterian last week. After finishing last year at 2-9, this win was a welcome site.
However, it should be noted that Presbyterian was possibly the worst team at the FCS level in 2022, ranking dead last (130th) in FCS SP+. It ranked 130th on both offense and defense, so we can't really take much away from the Racers' victory.
The best news for Murray State is the return of quarterback DJ Williams. After being injured in the opener last year and missing the entire season, he made his return for Murray State last weekend and threw for 104 yards on 8-of-16 passing while playing in just the first half.
The Murray State rushing attack racked up 44 carries for 231 yards as it outgained Presbyterian, 484-196.
The Racers ranked 100th in FCS SP+ last season, finishing 123rd on offense and 38th on defense. While they should rebound offensively with the return of Williams, their defense will certainly take a step back after losing six of their top eight defensive backs from a season ago.
Murray is not expected to be an overly impressive FCS team. Our Collin Wilson has the Racers power-rated at No. 108 in FCS, while SP+ has them at 81st, coming in at 83rd on offense and 62nd on defense. Phil Steele, meanwhile, projects Murray State to finish 11th in the Missouri Valley Conference.
This isn’t an opponent I would worry about upsetting Louisville in the slightest.
Last week, we caught the first glimpse of what the Cardinals may look like in the Jeff Brohm era. They got off to a rough start but rallied to defeat Georgia Tech, 39-34.
The Cardinals didn’t cover the spread as 7.5-point favorites, but their second-half comeback was impressive.
Louisville started slow on offense, mustering only 13 points to Georgia Tech’s 28 in the first half. However, it proved to be much stronger in the second half both through the air and on the ground.
For the game, Louisville averaged an EPA/Play of 0.29 and a Success Rate of 49.2%. These figures rank 22nd and 30th in the country, respectively, heading into Week 2. Seeing as Week 1 has a lot of FBS vs. FCS matchups, these numbers become more impressive against a conference opponent.
Transfer quarterback Jack Plummer threw for 247 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while adding another 51 yards on the ground. Plummer comes over from Cal and Purdue — where he played for Brohm — and threw for 3,095 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions in Berkeley last season.
The offensive line for Louisville is inexperienced, and the offense lost a lot of its top weapons from a season ago. However, Georgia State transfer receiver Jamari Thrash has already shown off his speed, going for 88 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches against Georgia Tech. Thrash looks to be the best playmaker in this offense through one game.
Seven starters return on the Cardinals defense this year, but they did lose 33.5 sacks from last year’s squad. They ranked 42nd in Defensive Success Rate in 2022 thanks to their pass defense, which finished 30th in Success Rate and 20th in PPA Allowed through the air.
Georgia Tech may have hung with this team on the scoreboard, but it didn't impress much offensively. In fact, the Yellow Jackets' numbers in Success Rate and EPA per Play rank 69th and 47th in FBS, respectively.
It took a comeback at the end, but Louisville was the better team on the field.
Murray State vs Louisville
Betting Pick & Prediction
Laying 40.5 points is gross, but I don’t think Murray State will be able to slow Louisville down at all.
The Cardinals’ playmakers showed off their talent against Georgia Tech last week, and they'll find a way to put up a ton of big numbers against a Racers defense that's replacing most of its defensive backfield.
I’d take the over if I had any confidence in Murray’s offense being better. But even with Williams back in the fold, this just isn’t a great unit. Brohm’s squad will roll to an easy win here.