College football odds: No. 7 Louisville at Kentucky

The have a clear path to an unbeaten season and perhaps a spot in the BCS title game as they don’t face a single team that is currently ranked. However, Kentucky is much improved this year and could pull the upset on Saturday in Lexington. The Cards opened as 13-point WagerWeb favorites.

Kentucky bounced back from an opening 35-26 loss to Western Kentucky with a 41-7 home win over Miami of Ohio. Maxwell Smith threw three long touchdown passes and Jalen Whitlow and Raymond Sanders each added scoring runs. The Wildcats made a winner of rookie coach Mark Stoops and Smith, who started for the first time since a season-ending ankle injury last September.

Smith helped offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s pass-oriented “Air Raid” philosophy take flight with TD passes of 48 yards to Jonathan George, 88 to Javess Blue and 56 to Jeff Badet. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 310 yards, 210 by halftime, as Kentucky outgained Miami 675-122 and allowed the RedHawks’ only score on a fumbled punt return. Whitlow, alternating with Smith, had Kentucky’s first TD on a 9-yard run, and Sanders added a 5-yard score. Joe Mansour added two field goals.

The UK defense allowed no scores on the day holding Miami to just 122 yards of total offense and only 1-of-16 on third downs. The 122 yards allowed is the fourth-lowest offensive output by a UK opponent in the last 25 years.

Louisville won 44-7 over Eastern Kentucky. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns, and Louisville routed Eastern Kentucky on a day the Cardinals’ defense just missed a shutout for a second straight week. Bridgewater spread his passes to eight receivers, finishing with four touchdowns and zero turnovers. Linebacker Preston Brown had two of Louisville’s four sacks, and Calvin Pryor had an interception as Louisville limited Eastern Kentucky to 76 yards of offense in the first half.

Kentucky leads the all-time series, which has been played every year since 1994 after a 70-year hiatus, 14-11 and 8-7 in Lexington. Louisville has won the contest each of the past two seasons after Kentucky claimed the four previous meetings. Fourteen of Kentucky’s 39 all-time wins against ranked opponents have come against top-10 teams.

Last year, Louisville beat Kentucky 32-14. Bridgewater finished with 232 yards on 19-of-21 passing, a school record for completion percentage. UK’s Smith completed 35 of 50 passes for 280 yards but was sacked twice. The Wildcats also committed two turnovers.

WagerWeb trends: Wildcats are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games on grass. Wildcats are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in September. Wildcats are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games overall. Under is 4-1 in Cardinals last 5 games overall. Under is 4-1 in Cardinals last 5 non-conference games. Over is 4-1 in Cardinals last 5 games following a S.U. win. Cardinals are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Kentucky. Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

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