Free Picks for Labor Day Matchup between Miami vs. Louisville

David Lawrence

Sunday, July 20, 2014 5:05 PM GMT

The final game of the first weekend of the 2014 college football season is the Monday night special on Labor Day. It’s an Atlantic Coast Conference game, as Louisville makes the move from the American Athletic Conference. 

What’s also worth noting is that this matchup is a rematch of a bowl game the teams played in late December of 2013. How will this very unique situation play out, with yet another detail to be revealed in the overview below?

 

Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals

Monday, September 1st – 8:05 PM ET

NCAA Football Odds: Louisville -3

 

The Hurricanes Can Win Because…
They will be angry and very motivated. When one team wins a bowl game, and the other team gets a chance to win the rematch in the following season’s opener, the tables can get turned. Consider the example from last season involving Boise State and Washington. Boise State won the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl, but then the Broncos played Washington to start the 2013 season. Washington was all over Boise State from the jump and pulled away for an easy blowout victory. Miami probably won’t blow out Louisville on the road, but the Hurricanes were crushed by the Cardinals in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando last December. Miami players have had to live with that memory and its humiliations over the past several months. The Hurricanes will study other ACC opponents, but with Louisville, a new member of the league, being first on the schedule, Miami should give the Cardinals its best shot. That should count for something in the betting situation enfolding this game. What should also help Miami is that Louisville is transitioning to a new coach, with Bobby Petrino taking over from the very popular Charlie Strong. Louisville’s defensive coordinator is Todd Grantham, a shaky coordinator who will probably not maintain the standards set under Strong, a coach who was primarily focused on defense.

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The Cardinals Can Win Because…
They have one of the best playcallers in college football on their sideline. Bobby Petrino is returning to Louisville, something few people in and around Louisville ever could have expected a relatively short time ago. Yet, when Charlie Strong left for Texas, Petrino’s name came up, and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who was spurned by Petrino several years ago in a bitter divorce, felt that it was worth it to reach out to Petrino and offer the coach a second chance with the Cardinals. Petrino was disgraced when he was discovered to have carried out an affair with a member of the athletic department at the University of Arkansas, after interfering with an employment process at the school to get his mistress a job. Louisville looked past this part of Petrino’s history, and the move hasn’t made a lot of people happy. However, Louisville wants to win games, and Petrino is very good at doing that because he draws up great offensive plays, especially in the passing game. If Louisville quarterback Will Gardner avoids the big mistake in this game, he could do really well against a so-so Miami defense that has not performed at a high level the past few seasons.

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Outlook & NCAA Football Betting Prediction
If Will Gardner plays a solid game, not even a great game, Miami quarterback Ryan Williams will probably have to be at his best to win this game for the Hurricanes. The benefit of the doubt lies with Louisville in what should be a seven-point or 10-point kind of game.

NCAA Football Picks: Louisville -3 at 5Dimes