Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Louisville Cardinals: Betting odds, preview, pick

Andy Lyons

Louisville lays a field goal as they try to stay undefeated at home against Cincinnati in Big East action Friday. But the Bearcats have dominated ATS in Louisville in recent years.

Friday night gives us a big game in the Big East as the 6-1 Cincinnati Bearcats and 7-0 Louisville clash at Papa John's Stadium in the annual battle for the Keg of Nails (8 pm ET, ESPN2).

The Cardinals are just 1-4 ATS in their past five home games vs the Bearcats, but they are favored by three points at shops such as TopBet to win this time around.

On one side of this match-up, Louisville has beaten Kentucky, Missouri State (FCS), North Carolina, Florida International and Southern Miss out of conference, and Pitt and South Florida in Big East play.

Last week Louisville scored on a Teddy Bridgewater TD pass with a minute and a half to go to beat USF 27-25.

On the other side of this match Cincinnati opened this season with a solid conference win over Pittsburgh, a ho-hum victory over FCS Delaware State, a 27-24 win over Virginia Tech, a romp over Miami-Ohio and another over FCS Fordham.

But last week Cincy ventured to Toledo and lost 29-23 even though they held the Rockets offense without a touchdown. Toledo scored on an interception return, a kickoff return and five field goals.

So the Cardinals and 'Cats, 2-0 and 1-0 respectively in conference play, trail only Rutgers, which is 4-0 already, in the Big East standings.

For the season, Louisville QB Bridgewater has completed 73 percent of his passes, as the Cardinals, with four returning starters on the offensive line, have averaged 406 YPG.

Cincy, meanwhile, is averaging 468 YPG on offense and has outrushed foes by a 225-123 YPG margin. Those numbers, though, are skewed a bit thanks to two games vs. FCS opponents.

Most CFB betting outlets opened this game with Louisville favored by four points, but as of Thursday AM the Cardinals had been dropped to -3 at most shops.

Cincinnati has won the last four games in this series. Last year the 'Cats came back from a 16-7 halftime deficit to win 25-16.

Free Pick: This should be a good tight game, and the line reflects that. But Louisville is a little better team, and Cincy is a little more mistake-prone. So we'll take the Cardinals to break their four-game losing streak vs. the Bearcats. (courtesy of

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