Pick Miami +2.5 vs. Louisville for Week 1 College Football

Jeff Grant

Friday, August 1, 2014 4:52 PM GMT

Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden has been known to cash tickets in competitively-priced games, which we bet will lead to the program covering its season opener against the Louisville Cardinals.

Revenge is the Name of the Game
Miami produced a 9-0-1 straight-up record in its first 10 meetings against Louisville, but it has dropped the last two in the series, including a 36-9 setback as 5.5-point underdogs in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl.

The Hurricanes were outgained by a sizable 554-174 yard margin in that affair, but it played without the services of star running back Duke Johnson, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Florida State on Nov. 2 in the regular season.

College football handicappers will find that the program has covered the number in its last five September contests.

 

A New, but Familiar Look
Louisville is moving from the American Athletic Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference, while it also welcomes back former head coach Bobby Petrino after stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Arkansas Razorbacks and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

For the fourth time in 11 years, the Cardinals will play in a different conference, which is important to consider when looking over the college football win totals and future odds on teams to win the national title.

Petrino’s biggest issue heading into the season is finding a new leader offensively, with longtime starter Teddy Bridgewater moving onto the NFL, but many NCAA football experts expect sophomore Will Gardner to earn the job.

 

Golden Opportunity
The Hurricanes are starting to gain some traction nationally heading into their fourth season under Golden, as their on the cusp of putting together three consecutive top 20 recruiting classes, while the defense has increased their takeaways each year over that period.

With Johnson back in the fold, Miami has a great opportunity to improve upon its 10-1 against-the-spread record in games with a betting line of +3 to -3 during his time on campus.

 

All Eyes on the Stop Unit
Petrino was able to return to the sidelines at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium after Charlie Strong left the program to take the head coaching job at the University of Texas. He put together a tremendous 41-9 straight-up record in his first go around in this role.

Strong’s departure is significant due to his defensive expertise, which managed to produced the nation’s top-ranked unit in 2013, but that group welcomes back just four full-time starters.

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Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Hurricanes as one of their Week 1 College Football picks, as they’ve won and covered the spread in their last two road openers.

Free College Football Pick:  Miami Hurricanes +2.5 at Bet365 sportbook.