Week 14 of the 2012 college football season kicks off with Thursday night (7:30pm ET) action in the Big East featuring the 23rd ranked Cardinals of Louisville (9-2) traveling to High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscatway, NJ to take on the 25th ranked Scarlet Knights of Rutgers (9-2) as Rutgers seeks to win the Big East Title outright and earn a BCS Bowl bid. The Cardinals are 4-7 ATS this season, and covered in one of their last four games overall and have lost their last two games outright including a 23-20 loss to UConn as a 10 point favorite at home. Rutgers is 7-4 ATS this season, and the Scarlet Knights have covered in two of their last three games, but failed to cover their last time out in a 27-6 loss at Pittsburgh as a 1.5 point underdog. The Scarlet Knight lead the series between the two teams 7-4 overall.
The Louisville offense ranks 40th among FBS teams with an average of 32 points per game scored and 44th in total offense with 431.3 yards per game on average. The offense is led by second year starter Teddy Bridgewater (3,189 yards passing, 23 TDs, 6 INTs) at quarterback, and two standout running backs in Senorise Perry (11 rushing TDs) and Jeremy Wright (723 rushing yards). The Cardinal defense ranks 44th in the nation with 24.5 PPG allowed and 26th in total defense with 345.5 YPG allowed.
Rutgers has an offense ranked 95th among FBS teams in scoring with an average of 22.9 PPG and 102nd in total offense with 341.4 YPG. The Scarlet Knights are far from explosive on offense, and rely on a ball-control offense predicated on running the ball with tailback Jawan Jamison (1,004 yards rushing) and controlling the clock. Quarterback Gary Nova (2,282 yards passing) is probable for the game with a neck injury. The Scarlet Knights rank 4th among FBS teams in points allowed with 13.7 per game and 14th in total defense 317.4 yards per game.
Louisville vs. Rutgers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Louisville Cardinals +3
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights -3
Over 43.5 (-110)
Under 43.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bodog.ca
Louisville vs. Rutgers Pick:
Louisville has a 12-4 record ATS in their last 16 road games against a team with a winning home record, a 6-2 record ATS in their last 8 games against winning teams and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Scarlet Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall. The over is 6-2 in Louisville’s last 8 road games, 9-4 in their last 13 games overall and 6-2 in their last 8 Big East games. The under is 5-1 in Rutgers’ last 6 home games, 15-5 in their last 20 games overall and 5-2 in their last 7 games against winning teams. In head-to-head play, the favorite is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings, the over is 5-1 in their last 6 meetings and the home team is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
The Cardinals come into this game on a two game losing streak, and going on the road to take a defense that ranks in the top 5 nationally in points allowed. Rutgers has everything to play for in this game, in a Big East Title which would be their first ever, and a BCS bowl game. The Scarlet Knights have only allowed 71 points total in their six Big East games this season. Rutgers shut down a good Cincinnati team, allowing only 3 points to the Bearcats, and the call here is that they will be able to do so against an excellent Louisville offense. This has been a good year for defense, with Notre Dame and Alabama on a collision course for the BCS National Championship. The Scarlet Knights rank just behind those two in scoring defense, and that gives them the edge here. Take Rutgers and give the points in this game.
PICK = Rutgers -3