Louisville vs. Kentucky Betting Odds, Preview and Prediction

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 27:  David Amerson #1 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack celebrates after an interception to end their game and defeat Louisville Cardinals 31-24 at Bank of America Stadium on December 27, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats have won their past two trips to Louisville (2008, 2010) but they have been a disaster on the road the past two seasons.

Oddsmakers and bettors feel that will continue in 2012, as the Wildcats were named 13-point underdogs at Louisville in their annual battle Sunday.

It seems like Kentucky and Louisville just met in college basketball's Final Four. Now the Wildcats and Cardinals kick off the year with their annual Governor's Cup game Sunday at Papa John's Stadium (3:30 pm ET, ESPN). 

"The Wildcats are just 1-9 straight up and 2-8 ATS in their past 10 road games, so bettors haven't gotten rich backing them lately," said handicapping analyst Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.

"But there are trends involving Louisville that don't exactly inspire betting confidence either."

Louisville is just 1-6 ATS in September home games since 2007. They have also stumbled to a 3-7 ATS mark in their past 10 games as a double-digit favorite, according to the Kentucky-Louisville matchup report details.

The Wildcats return 11 starters from a team that went 5-7 last year, 2-6 in the SEC and missed a bowl game. UK gets six starters back on offense, but only two on the O line.

And only five starters return on defense, as the 'Cats lose three of last year's top four tacklers. So there are holes to fill for Coach Phillips in his third year here.

On the other side of this matchup, the Cardinals get back 15 starters this year from a team that went 7-6 last year, 5-2 in the Big East and lost to NC State in a bowl game. Louisville returns seven starters on offense, led by QB Teddy Bridgewater (65 percent completions as a freshman last year).

There are also four returning along the O line, and eight starters come back on defense, after that unit allowed just 328 YPG last season. This group has a chance to be the best team Coach Strong has had in his three years here.

Louisville has emerged as a 2/1 favorite to win the Big East championship this season, according to future odds.

These teams have met each season since 1994. Last year, the Cardinals beat the Wildcats 24-17, out-rushing Kentucky 183-35, to break a four-game losing streak in this Bluegrass State series.

Free NCAAF Pick: The initial line moved toward Kentucky on this game, but that just means we get a better number on Louisville. We'll go with the Cardinals minus the 13 points Sunday.