The Louisville Cardinals will be aiming to return to the hunt for a berth in the College Football Playoff when they host the ACC conference rival Duke Blue Devils on Friday night.
The Cardinals used last week’s bye to recover from a 42-36 loss as one-point road chalk to the Clemson Tigers, cooling off an impressive 4-0 start both straight up and against the spread that briefly lifted them to No. 3 in the AP Top 25.
Duke has endured a roller-coaster season but improved to 3-3 SU with a 13-6 win over Army last week, and it is a respectable 4-4 SU in its past eight games against nationally ranked opponents.
Point spread: The Cardinals opened as 27.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 42.9-17.8 Cardinals (College football picks on every game)
Why the Duke Blue Devils can cover the spread
Prior to last week’s victory over Army, which was dramatically impacted by the harsh weather caused by Hurricane Matthew, the Blue Devils had seen steadily improved production from their offense, amassing 430 or more total yards in two straight games.
However, Duke must stick to a simplified game plan and cut down on the excessive number of turnovers that cost it dearly in losses to Virginia and Wake Forest.
The Blue Devils defense is ranked 26th in the nation, surrendering just 345.2 total yards per game, and Duke will need to build on a trend that has seen it hold opposing passers to under 200 aerial yards in three of its six games.
Why the Louisville Cardinals can cover the spread
The Cardinals gained a measure of experience in their Week 5 loss to the battle-hardened Tigers, which ended a six-game SU and ATS run, and they understand that any further letdown would likely eliminate them from CFP consideration.
Louisville continues to lead the nation in most offensive categories, most notably points per game (58) and total yards per game (659.2). The Cardinals have also been dynamite at home, winning six straight (4-2 ATS) and holding visitors to 20 or fewer points in six of their past seven.
With an extra week off to prepare, the question is not so much whether Louisville will walk away with a SU win, but by how much. The Cardinals are on a 3-0 ATS run as double-digit chalk, and they are 4-1 ATS in their past five games when favored by 30 or more points.
Duke posted a stunning 38-35 win over Notre Dame in its last outing as double-digit underdogs, but it faces a much tougher adversary in this angry Cardinals squad. Look for Louisville to run up the score but struggle to cover in a rout of the Blue Devils this week.
Louisville is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 games after a loss.
Duke is 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games in October.
Duke is 1-5 ATS in its last six games against teams with winning records.
All college football betting lines and point-spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis, or download the free odds-tracker app.
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Source: Bleacher Report-ACC Football