Louisville has quickly become a force in the college football world, but oddsmakers don't have the Cardinals all that high on the NCAA football futures odds list for the 2015 season.
College Football Futures Odds Overview
When we look over all of college football, we see the Cardinals relatively far down in the pecking order. The NCAA football betting lines vary depending on which sportsbook you check on, but the range starts at +10000 and goes up to +17500 in some places.
If we solely look at the ACC, we see Louisville in roughly fifth place, behind the likes of Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and even Virginia Tech at some outlets. The Cardinals are quoted at anywhere from +800 to +1200 to emerge as the conference champions in what's quickly becoming a much more competitive field.
Louisville Cardinals: 2014 Recap
It wasn't a title-winning season or anything, but the Cardinals can be proud of their 9-4 final record from 2014. They lost to Virginia, Clemson and Florida State during the regular season and then lost to Georgia in the Belk Bowl.
There were a couple standout wins, with Louisville getting the better of Miami (FL) 31-13 at home and Notre Dame (31-28) on the road. Still, the Cardinals would have liked to close things out in a better fashion, as they were beaten up badly by the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball, thus closing the 2014 chapter in a negative light.
There was never much clarity at the QB position for Louisville last season, though Will Gardner ended up having the best statistical season; he finished with a 12:3 TD:INT ratio in eight appearances, but Reggie Bonnafon and Kyle Bolin both saw significant action as well. Out of the backfield, Brandon Radcliff led all backs with 737 rushing yards and he also found the end zone 12 times in total.
As far as the wideout group went, it was essentially the DeVante Parker show throughout the 2014 season. He had 43 catches for 855 yards and five touchdowns, and while those numbers may not scream out dominance, what if we told you he put up those numbers in only SIX games. Yeah, Parker was a downright beast when he returned to active duty for Louisville, and now he's plying his trade in the NFL.
Louisville Cardinals: 2015 Look-Ahead
Perhaps one of the biggest factors into Louisville's underwhelming positioning on the futures odds list is the uncertainty that still exists at the QB spot.
At time of this writing, Bonnafon was the front-runner to take over the starting role for the start of the 2015 season. Gardner is still recovering from a knee injury and is still some time away from being at full strength, and while Bolin is in the mix too, it's Bonnafon that's been most impressive in camp; as such, he's the favorite to assume the helm until Gardner is able to return.
Gardner is listed on the Heisman winner futures board, so we should see him on the field at some point, but it may be wise to stay away from this Cardinals team entirely until we see what they're made of. Radcliff is back for his junior season and should see most of the carries now with Michael Dyer in the NFL as well. At wideout, James Quick figures to be the first-choice receiver, as Parker and Eli Rogers, who combined for over 1,300 receiving yards and eight touchdown grabs, are no longer around.
As you can see, there are quite a few question marks surrounding Louisville's offense ahead of 2015, so we're going to play it safe and take a wait-and-see approach before diving in and backing the Cardinals with our college football picks. There are more talented teams in the ACC alone, and as such we'd probably be best to stay away from any futures wagers.