The Louisville Cardinals not too long ago were the No. 1 team in college basketball. Then they lost three games in a row. Which way might this game fall along the point-spread?

NCAA Basketball Betting: Battle of the Birds in the Big East

Sunday Louisville looks to make up ground in the Big East standings when it hosts the Marquette Warriors --- err, “Golden Eagles” --- at the Yum! Center (2 pm ET, ESPN).

This Week's College Hoops Pick Record: 1-2

Eagles-Cardinals Betting Lines

Image previewAs of early Sunday morning every book on SBR's college basketball betting board was listing  Louisville at -10.5 for this game, and almost every book had the OVER/UNDER tabbed at 132.5

Bettors out there who think Marquette might pull an upset Sunday can get the Eagles at +500 on the college basketball money line at 5Dimes.

Eagles-Cardinals Game Set-Up

With three starters back from its Final Four team of last year Louisville went off this season at No. 2 in the AP poll. The Cardinals started 12-1 through their non-conference schedule, with wins over Missouri, Memphis and Kentucky, the only loss coming to Duke. Louisville also won its first four Big East games, and with help from elsewhere, reached the top spot in the national polls.

The Cardinals then promptly lost at home to Syracuse, at Villanova and at Georgetown, as the shooting went cold, to the tune of less than 39 percent.

Louisville then managed to stop that slide when it beat Pittsburgh Monday 64-61. But the Cardinals have still lost four games in a row vs. the pointspreads.

Marquette, meanwhile, with three starters back from last season's 27-8 team, went 9-3 through its non-conference schedule, with a win over Wisconsin and losses to Butler, Florida and Green Bay. The Eagles then won their first four Big East games, two in overtime and another by one point.

Marquette then lost in overtime at Cincinnati, but has since won its last two; last time out the Eagles, led by a 13-for-20 performance by G Vander Blue, shot 55 percent from the floor and held South Florida to 27 percent shooting in beating the Bulls 63-50 Monday night. In doing so Marquette covered the spread as 11-point betting odds favorites.

Of Marquette's four losses, three came by a combined five points. The other was an 82-49 drubbing at the hands of Florida, although the Gators have been doing that to a lot of people this season.

So, the Eagles lead the Big East at 6-1, while the Cardinals sit in sixth place at 5-3.

Eagles-Cardinals Recent History

These teams split two games last season, the Eagles winning 74-63 in Milwaukee, and the Cardinals winning in the conference tournament 84-71. Both those games played OVER on the totals.

Eagles-Cardinals, By the Numbers

On the season Marquette is shooting 46 percent from the floor, just 30 percent from 3-point land but 73 percent from the FT line. The Eagles are also holding opponents to less than 40 percent FG shooting, and out-rebounding foes by about five boards per game.

Louisville is shooting 45 percent from the floor, only 32 percent from long range and 70 percent from the line. The Cardinals are also holding foes to 40 percent FG shooting and out-boarding them by about five per game.

Cardinals Personnel Update

Louisville beat Pitt Monday without F Wayne Blackshear (nine points, four boards per game), who was dealing with a shoulder injury. But he is expected to be ready.

 

Eagles-Cardinals Betting Trends

Marquette games have averaged 132 total points this season.

Louisville games have also averaged 132 points.

Guess what the OVER/UNDER on this game is?

The Cardinals are a respectable 7-5 ATS this season when favored by 10 or more points.

Eagles-Cardinals Free Pick

From what we can tell 10.5 points just seems like too darn much.

College Basketball Free Picks: Take Marquette at the -101 price offered at 5Dimes.