Friday college football odds: Cincinnati at No. 16 Louisville

It’s a game that will certainly play a role in determining the Big East champion when Cincinnati visits Louisville on Friday night, with the Cardinals as 3.5-point WagerWeb.com favorites.

This should have been a matchup of undefeated teams but Cincinnati got caught looking ahead last week as it lost 29-23 at MAC team Toledo. Cincinnati didn’t score until the second quarter and its only lead came late in the third quarter. Even that lasted just a few seconds. Bernard Reedy was barely touched as he took a kickoff and scampered up the field 91 yards to put the Rockets back in front 26-20. The Bearcats (5-1) have been a slow starting team, struggling in the first half the last two weeks against Miami (Ohio) and Fordham.

The Rockets’ defense, which allowed 624 yards and a lot of big plays a week ago against Eastern Michigan, kept the multitalented Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux and his high-scoring offense in check. The Bearcats had been averaging 37 points per game and were tops in the Big East in yards and points Legaux had 228 yards passing and 66 yards on the ground, but never seemed to get on track.

Entering the week, Cincinnati leads the Big East in rushing offense (225.7), total offense (467.5), scoring offense (24.7), punt returns (14.5) and sacks (3.0). The Bearcats rank No. 2 in the league in pass efficiency defense (111.90), scoring defense (16.8) and sacks allowed (0.8)

Louisville squeaked by South Florida 27-25 last week. Teddy Bridgewater threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers with 1:35 left, and the undefeated Cardinals edged South Florida for their best start since 2006. Louisville (7-0, 2-0 Big East) rallied after yielding 15 straight points to South Florida and a season-high 197 yards rushing. Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright each ran for a touchdown for the Cardinals.

Friday marks the third time in five years the Cincinnati-Louisville game will take place on a Friday night and be televised by ESPN or ESPN2. Cincinnati leads the all-time series 29-21-1, with the Bearcats taking the last four in a row. Cincinnati holds a 13-9-1 advantage in games played in Louisville and has a two-game winning streak there.

WagerWeb.com trends: Bearcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Louisville. Favorite is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 meetings. Road team is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings

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