Free CFB Pick: Central Florida at Louisville

The Central Florida Knights will try and knock the No. 8-ranked Louisville Cardinals from the ranks of the unbeaten this Friday night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in a key showdown in the America Athletic Conference. Kickoff for this clash is set for 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

The Knights come into this matchup fresh off a bye week after squeaking by Memphis 24-17 on Oct. 5 as 9.5-point favorites on the road. They are now 4-1 on the year both straight up and against the spread with a perfect 3-0 record on the road. The total has stayed “under” in four of their first five games.

Louisville continued its quest for a perfect season and a possible shot at a spot in the BCS title game with a 24-10 victory over Rutgers last Thursday night as a 19.5-point home favorite. This makes it six straight victories to start the year, but the Cardinals are just 2-3 ATS in their last five games. The total has stayed under in five of six contests this year.

Central Florida at Louisville Betting Storylines

The Central Florida Knights have been able to establish themselves as the second-best team in the AAC this season. Earlier in the year they upset Penn State 34-31 on the road as a 4.5-point underdog and they also came within four points of beating No. 11 South Carolina as a seven-point home underdog. The Knights have an effective passing game behind quarterback Blake Bortles that is averaging 270 yards a game. He has thrown for 1,334 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 64.8 percent of his 142 attempts. Storm Johnson remains the featured back in the running game with 455 yards on 87 carries.

If the Knights are going to have any shot at keeping this game close, it will most likely be behind a shut-down defense that is holding opponents to an average of 16.6 points a game, which is the 11th lowest total in the nation. This number is bit skewed as of late considering that UCF has allowed an average of 25.3 points in its last three games.

The Louisville Cardinals are well aware that strength of schedule is working against their climb up the rankings. The Knights will be the toughest opponent they will face from here on in, so it is imperative to make an impression with a convincing win. This means we will probably get a heavy dose of Teddy Bridgewater passing the ball on Friday night.

The Heisman hopeful has already thrown for 1,872 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first six games while boasting a 71 percent completion rate. He has only been picked off twice on 176 attempts and comes into this game with an overall rating of 191.8. What makes this performance even more impressive is his ability to spread the ball around. The Cardinals have six different players with at least 14 receptions on the year. While the offense has been productive all season long with an average of 41 points a game, Louisville’s strongest asset could be a defense that is ranked first in the country in points allowed in giving up an average of just 7.3 points a game.

Central Florida at Louisville Betting Odds and Trends

Pointspread: Louisville -11
Total Line: OFF

The Knights are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games against a team with a winning record and 14-5 ATS in their last 19 road games against a team with a winning record at home. The total has gone “over” in seven of their last 10 games following a SU win.

The Cardinals are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games played on a Friday and 0-4 ATS in their last four games played in the month of October. The total has stayed under in four of their last five home games.

The last time these two teams played each other was all the way back in 1985, with Louisville coming away with a 42-21 victory in a game that closed as a “pick’em”.

College Football Picks: Central Florida at Louisville Betting Predictions

The Knights realize they have a golden opportunity to move their program into the national spotlight with an upset on Friday night. They also know that they have the talent to successfully compete against a team like Louisville after already proving this point against the Nittany Lions and the Gamecocks. The Cardinals will still walk away with the SU win in this one, but they will also know they were in a fight.

Take: #307 Central Florida (+ 11) over Louisville (8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18)

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