A veteran Louisville Cardinals team will look to win its second consecutive game when they take on the visiting UCF Knights in a key non-conference matchup on Friday night. The Cardinals (1-1) welcome back 31 players who started at least one game during the 2020 season, including three who started all 11 games. Defensive end Tabarius Peterson and cornerback Kei'Trel Clark both started 10 games, while linebacker C.J. Avery started nine. Central Florida (2-0), meanwhile, returns its entire offensive line from last season, which includes six different players that started games.
Kickoff from Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Ky., is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The Knights are favored by seven points in the latest UCF vs. Louisville odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 67. Before locking in any Louisville vs. UCF picks, check out the college football predictions from SportsLine's Zack Cimini.
Cimini is a highly respected Las Vegas handicapper who's never afraid to buck conventional wisdom. He also has an uncanny feel for the tendencies of the Cardinals, going an incredible 7-1 in his last eight college football picks involving Louisville, returning nearly $600. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
- UCF vs. Louisville spread: UCF -7
- UCF vs. Louisville over-under: 67 points
- UCF vs. Louisville money line: UCF -270, Louisville +220
- UCF: The Knights are 39-16 against the spread in their last 55 games after allowing fewer than 20 points in their previous game
- LOU: The Cardinals are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games
Why UCF can cover
Junior Dillon Gabriel is already considered one of the nation's top quarterbacks and came into the season as a PFF preseason honorable mention All-American. He is also on the watch list for every national quarterback and player of the year award. In 2020, Gabriel threw for 3,570 yards and 32 passing touchdowns with just four interceptions in a 10-game season. He earned second-team All-AAC honors and led the nation with 357 passing yards per game. His 32 TDs ranked fourth in the country.
Also returning is Gabriel's top target from a year ago in junior wide receiver Jaylon Robinson, who already has eight catches for 187 yards (23.4 average) and one touchdown. Last season, Robinson totaled 979 yards and six touchdowns in his first season with the Knights. He earned first-team all-conference honors as a sophomore, ranking No. 14 in the nation in receiving yards. Robinson eclipsed the 100-yard mark six times, which tied for the third-most in UCF history.
Why Louisville can cover
Redshirt junior quarterback Malik Cunningham is proving he can find the end zone with four rushing touchdowns in his first two games, which ranks seventh nationally. He joins Lenny Lyles as the only Louisville players to rush for four or more touchdowns in four separate seasons. With 22 career rushing TDs, he is just one shy of reaching 10th place on the school's all-time rushing touchdowns list. He ranks second at Louisville for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He is sixth all-time at the school with 7,319 total yards.
Redshirt freshman Jalen Mitchell is already making an impact at Louisville. Last season, when Javian Howard opted out due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mitchell stepped up and rushed for 347 yards and averaged 6.7 yards per carry. He recorded his first 100-yard rushing game with 168 yards in a win over Wake Forest. In last week's win over Eastern Kentucky, Mitchell narrowly missed his second 100-yard game with 90 yards on 14 carries. He is averaging 5.0 yards per carry, including a season-high 24-yard run. In 12 career games, Mitchell has rushed for 486 yards, an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
How to make UCF vs. Louisville picks
Cimini is leaning over on the point total. He has also found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Louisville vs. UCF? And which side of the spread is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the expert who has crushed his college football picks involving Louisville, and find out.