Louisville Cardinals vs. North Carolina Tar Heels: Odds, Preview and Pick

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Senorise Perry #32 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball during the game against the Missouri State Bears at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A couple of schools better known for their basketball programs meet on the football field Saturday afternoon, as the Louisville Cardinals host the North Carolina Tar Heels in a Big East-ACC matchup (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2).

Earlier this week, most betting shops in Vegas (and online shops tracked by OddsShark.com) opened this game with Louisville favored by 3.5 or four points, with the total at right around 51. But as of Thursday afternoon, Carolina has been bet down to +3, while the total has been bet all the way up to 56.

Louisville has covered the past four meetings with UNC, dating to 1996, according to the OddsShark matchup report.

The Tar Heels are off to a 1-1 start to this season, their first under new head coach Larry Fedora. They opened with a 62-0 romp over FCS Elon, but last week lost 28-27 at Wake Forest as 10-point favorites.

Carolina outrushed the Demon Deacons 157-64 but allowed Wake QB Tanner Price to have a big day, throwing for 327 yards. The Heels led 27-21 late but allowed the Deacons to drive 93 yards for the winning score.

UNC played Wake without RB Giovani Bernard, who in the win over Elon ran for 93 yards, returned two punts for 100 yards and scored three touchdowns but hurt his knee. His status for Saturday's game, though, has been upgraded to probable. 

Louisville is 2-0, after beating Kentucky 32-14 and, last week, Missouri State 35-7. The Cardinals ran for 219 yards vs. the Wildcats, then had QB Teddy Bridgewater go 30-for-39 for 344 yards vs. the Bears.

With its two victories, Louisville has climbed to No. 19 in this week's AP Top 25 poll.

These teams met just last season, an October game in Chapel Hill, with the Heels coming away with a 14-7 victory. That game was scoreless at the half, before Carolina, favored by 13 points, scored twice to take a 14-0 lead.

But the Cardinals, who outgained and outrushed the Heels that day, scored with under a minute remaining to steal a back-door cover. 


Free Pick

 Louisville's Bridgewater is a rising star, while Carolina, although with some talent of its own, is still learning Coach Fedora's new systems.

We'll give the three points and take the Cardinals (courtesy of PickShark.com).