The Cincinnati Bearcats will look to bounce back from their first loss of the year, as they hit the road to take on the Louisville Cardinals inside Papa John’s Stadium on Friday night.  Let’s take a closer look at this Big East Conference showdown from a betting perspective.


No shame in losing inside the Glass Bowl


Cincinnati may have been peeking ahead to this contest in last week’s 29-23 setback to the Toledo Rockets as 5.5-point road favorites, which also served as the team’s first road game of the 2012 campaign. The Bearcats have managed to out-gain all six of their opponents this year, including a 123-yard edge last Saturday. The program is 0-3 straight up and against the spread (ATS) off an upset loss as a favorite over the last two-plus years.

Cardinals are just getting by

Teddy BridgewaterLouisville will enter this marquee affair with a perfect 7-0 record, but it’s important to note that four of the last five wins have come by seven or fewer points, which has resulted in a 2-3 ATS mark in that span. The Cardinals are now focused on trying to go 3-0 in Big East play for just the second time in school history. College football handicappers will find that this team is 10-6 ATS against conference opponents since 2010.

Getting on the board first is paramount 

Scoring first is important in any matchup, but it may prove to be vital in this affair, considering the Bearcats have outscored their opponents by a 58-9 advantage in the first quarter this year. On the other side, the Cardinals have trailed or been tied at the half or have fallen behind in the third or fourth quarter in their last four games. Live bettors may want to follow this trend if the opportunity presents itself on Friday night.

Bridgewater will be tested

Sophomore Teddy Bridgewater has completed 73.4 percent of his throws for 1,694 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, as the Cardinals signal-caller connected on 21-of-25 passes in last week’s 27-25 victory over the South Florida Bulls as six-point home favorites. The Bearcats will provide a stiff challenge, as they lead the conference in sacks per game, while sitting second in pass efficiency defense.

Bearcats are streaking in this series

One of my favorite sports handicapping angles is represented in this non-Saturday affair, as the Bearcats are listed as road underdogs on the college football odds page after winning the last four meetings in this series as favorites. Cincinnati has compiled a 3-1 ATS mark in that span, but failed to cover a 13-point spread in a 25-16 home win in last year’s meeting. 

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bearcats in this situation, as I’m not turned off by their loss to the Rockets last week, especially when you consider they didn’t allow an offensive touchdown in that game. The Cardinals have dropped four of their last five games when playing on friday night, which includes a 1-2 mark under current head coach Charlie Strong.

College Football Week 9 Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats +4