The Miami Hurricanes travel up the road to Orlando for their first bowl since 2010 on the heels of a solid 9-3 season. The Louisville Cardinals, armed with superstar pivot Teddy Bridgewater, will be waiting, and they opened as three-point chalk on the Russell Athletic Bowl betting menu.
Canes backers have profited just once in the team’s past five bowl games, but this game has been dominated by the ACC with nine wins in 10 games in the past decade.
Point spread: Cardinals opened as three-point favorites; the total was 56.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 36.3-34.5 Cardinals
Why Louisville can cover the Russell Athletic Bowl spread
The Cardinals (11-1) were one slip-up against UCF away from a perfect season and a BCS Bowl game. Instead they find themselves playing a fading Miami team in what will feel like a road game for the Cardinals.
Luckily for Louisville, the home-field advantage won’t make up for the giant gap in talent when it comes to the two offenses. Bridgewater, who threw for 3,523 yards and 28 touchdowns and is the consensus top pick for next year’s NFL draft, finished the season fifth in passing efficiency with a rating of 169.7.
DeVante Parker and Damian Copeland should have their way with a Miami secondary that ranks 71st with 233 passing yards allowed per game.
Why Miami can cover the Russell Athletic Bowl spread
The Russell Athletic Bowl, formerly the Champ Sports Bowl, has been dominated by the ACC in the past. Teams from the ACC are 9-1 in the past decade and have won the last three. Miami’s star running back Duke Johnson went down and missed the last four games of the season, but sophomore Dallas Crawford filled in and ran for 12 touchdowns.
Senior signal-caller Stephen Morris has had his best year under center and is fresh off a three-touchdown performance against Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes are battle-tested, surviving the deepest conference in the country, while Louisville coasted through the AAC.
Combine that with the Russell Athletic Bowl betting history that shows ACC schools dominate here, and there is plenty of justification for backing the underdog Hurricanes.
Louisville is flat-out better than Miami everywhere. Despite the lack of competition, it’s still difficult not to be impressed with the Cardinals' resume. They can throw the ball as well as anyone in the country and are possibly even better on the defensive side of the ball.
Louisville finished second in the nation, only allowing 257.9 yards per game. Miami’s offense started strong, but after Duke Johnson went down, the offense was stale.
The Hurricanes finished the season 1-6 against the spread in their last seven. Louisville wins and covers the three points easily. If that happens, it probably means the trend toward Louisville bowl OVERs (6-1 past seven) will continue.
- UNDER is 7-1 in the past eight Russell Athletic Bowls
- ACC schools 9-1 SU past 10 Russell Athletic Bowls
- Miami is 1-4 ATS in bowl games since 2007
- OVER is 6-1 in the past seven Louisville bowl games