College Football Picks: Rutgers vs. Louisville

David Lawrence

Thursday, October 10, 2013 2:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 2:55 PM UTC

Let's look at the betting odds for the match-up between the Louisville Cardinals and Rutgers Scarlett Knights for our Thursday Night College Football Picks.

NCAA Football Betting 

Let’s face it: the Louisville Cardinals have had a cakewalk through their first five games. With all due respect to the likes of Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Florida International and Temple, none of them are really that good this season. Yes, even Kentucky, who plays in the SEC. 

It’s not that Rutgers presents such a huge challenge for the eighth-ranked Cardinals but this should be their toughest test to date. Even so, they are at home and an 18-point favorite on the college football odds. Don’t expect them to lose outright here but people making their college football picks need to determine whether or not they can cover the spread.

Rutgers Scarlett Knights @ Louisville Cardinals

Odds: Cardinals -18

The Scarlett Knights can win because…

They are actually pretty good. Not much was expected of them this season but they’ve been quite impressive so far (given the expectations). In Week 1, they nearly went into Fresno State and stole a win from the 25th-ranked team in the country, losing 52-51 in overtime. They also have quality wins over Arkansas and SMU. On the whole, one would probably say that Rutgers has had a tougher schedule so far than Louisville. 

This is a revenge game for the Scarlet Knights. Last season, both of these teams were 9-2 with a shot to win the Big East and with the game on the line, Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova through an interception to seal it. Now he’s back and he’ll be looking to make amends. Expect him to find Leonte Caroo (AAC leading seven touchdowns) early and often.

There aren’t many teams in the AAC that can challenge Louisville but this is one of them. Look for the Scarlet Knights to be competitive and maybe even have a shot to win.

The Cardinals can win because…

The Scarlet Knights just aren’t ready for this. Sure, they surprised Fresno State in Week 1 and nearly upset them on the road but what happened last week? They needed triple-overtime to outlast SMU on the road – the same SMU team that’s been throttled three other times this season and their lone win was a 31-30 squeaker over Montana State. If you can’t handle SMU on the road, you surely can’t handle Louisville.

While these two teams placed a close game at the end of last season, a number of dynamics have changed. For starters, Louisville now has the home-field advantage. Secondly, the Cardinals have gotten better while the Scarlet Knights have gotten worse. On offense, Rutgers’ quarterback Gary Nova is not playing great as he has four turnovers, has been sacked 11 times and is completing only 58% of his passes. On defense, the Scarlet Knights are not what they were last year as they are giving up 27.8 points per game.

Louisville has improved. Teddy Bridgewater has arrived on the scene, is having a fantastic season and is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. The running game with Michael Dyer and company is looking great. As for the defense, it’s better than it was a year ago.

The Scarlet Knights do have a shot to win this game but Louisville will have to be super flat and turn over the ball at least three times. That’s not going to happen.


Outlook & NCAA Football Betting Prediction:

If you’re making your sports picks in this spot, you’re probably considering taking the points with Rutgers and that’s the right play. While everyone wants to assume a blowout, the truth is that these teams know each other very well. This is probably the Cardinals last test of the year and they’ll be focused. However, the Scarlet Knights will be up for this game too.

The Cardinals will get the win and shouldn’t really be threatened but covering 18 points could be a challenge.

NCAA Football Picks: Scarlet Knights +18 

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