The 2013 Sugar Bowl features a Big East-SEC match-up with the 21st ranked Cardinals of Louisville (10-2) taking on the 3rd ranked Florida Gators (11-1) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA this Wednesday night (8:30pm ET). Louisville is 5-7 ATS this season, the Cardinals have covered in only 2 of their final 6 games this season, one of which was their finale over Big East rival Rutgers, a 20-17 win on the road as a 3point underdog. Florida is 7-5 ATS this season; the Gators snapped a 4 game streak of failing to cover with a 37-26 win on the road as a 7 point underdog to in-state rival Florida State in their regular season finale.
The Louisville offense ranks 50th among all FBS teams in scoring offense with an average of 31 points per game and 47th among FBS teams in total offense with an average of 425.7 yards per game. Quarterback Teddy Bridegewater (3,452 yards passing, 25 TDs, 7 INTs) is an efficient an accurate passer who is nursing a wrist injury, but is probable to play in this game. The Cardinal defense ranks 36th among FBS teams in scoring defense with 23.8 PPG allowed and ranks 25th in the nation in total defense with 344.8 YPG allowed.
The Florida offense is led by All-SEC running back Mike Gillislee (1,104 yards rushing, 10 TDs), and averages 194.6 YPG on the ground to rank 35th among FBS teams in rushing offense. Florida ranks 76th in the nation in scoring offense with 26.8 PPG and 103rd in total offense with 338 YPG. The Gators defense ranks 3rd nationally in points allowed with 12.9 per game under Head Coach, and noted defensive guru Will Muschcamp. The Gators have only allowed 5 passing touchdowns this season, while intercepting 19 passes and holding opposing quarterbacks a 51.2% completion rate and 186 YPG through the air.
Louisville vs. Florida Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Louisville Cardinals +14
@ Florida Gators -14
Over 45.5 (-110)
Under 45.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Louisville vs. Florida Pick:
Louisville is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games against winning teams, 35-17 ATS in their last 52 non-conference games and 0-5 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win. The Gators are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 bowl games, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games and 22-9 ATS in their last 31 non-conference games. The over is 4-1 in Louisville’s last bowl games and 4-1 in their last 5 neutral site games. The over is 5-2 in Florida’s last 7 bowl games. The under is 9-4 in Florida’s last 13 games overall and 7-3 in their last 10 games against teams with a winning record.
Florida has a dominant secondary that has shut down many of the nation’s best, including Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who they held to 172 yards passing in a win over the Aggies in September. Louisville does not have much of a running game; ranking 100th among FBS teams with an average of 127.1 YPG, therefore the Gators ability to shut down the passing game will leave the Cardinals with very little changing of hanging with the Gators in this game. Florida should be able to run the ball against a defense that does not face the type of competition that the Gators see in the SEC and will eventually be worn down by the superior size and speed of the Gators. Take Florid to cover in this game against a Louisville team that faded down the stretch during the regular season as they began to face tougher competition.
PICK = Florida -14