A mix of the new and the old is renewing optimism in the Louisville Cardinals football program.
After starting last season with a 2-3 record, which included disappointing losses at Syracuse and Boston College, the Cards rattled off wins in six of their last eight games. The 8-5 campaign was UofL’s first winning season since 2019, but coach Scott Satterfield chose to leave Louisville after four years to take on the same job at Cincinnati.
That prompted Director of Athletics Josh Heird to pursue Purdue coach Jeff Brohm, former UofL quarterback, to come home. Brohm, who turned down his alma mater after the 2018 season, took it after leading the Boilermakers to the Big Ten title game last season.
Brohm’s arrival isn’t the only change worth noting. The Cardinals must replace Malik Cunningham at quarterback, but Jack Plummer, a transfer from California who also played previously under Brohm at Purdue, is expected to take the snaps. He should have plenty of help on offense with explosive talents like running back Jawhar Jordan and wide receiver Ahmari Huggins-Bruce both returning and Jamari Thrash arriving from Georgia State.
Likewise, the defense will feature a mix of returning talent, such as safety Josh Minkins and cornerback Quincy Riley, and transfers, such as edge rusher Stephen Herron and linebacker Keith Brown.
Oddsmakers think the Cardinals have an outside chance to capture their first ACC title this season. BetMGM offers Louisville at +800, which means a $100 wager would net a profit of $800. That makes the Cards the fourth choice on the board behind favorite Florida State (+175), Clemson (+200), and North Carolina (+600). Kentucky sportsbooks are almost up and running in the Bluegrass state.
One thing working in Louisville’s favor? None of the top three teams appear on its regular season schedule.
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Toughest Stretch of UK’s Schedule Is…
BetKentucky.com created a point system to determine the toughest three-game stretch of the Cardinals’ 2023 schedule for the upcoming college football season. We awarded four points to each opponent that won at least seven games last season, three points to each opponent that won at least six games, three points for an away game, and two points for a conference opponent.
The middle of the road appears to be the most challenging stretch for Louisville this season.
It starts with a trip to Raleigh on Sept. 29 to face N.C. State in a Friday night primetime tilt, and it doesn’t necessarily help that the Cardinals will be getting one less day to prepare for their first true road test in conference play. (Yes, Louisville will play Georgia Tech in Atlanta, but the game’s being played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and is considered a neutral site affair)
Upon their return to L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium, the Cards face a Notre Dame squad on Oct. 7 that many expect to be in the top 10 nationally this season.
UofL follows that up a week later with a trip to Pittsburgh. Louisville beat the Panthers 24-10 at home last season, but Pitt has claimed wins in six of the last eight meetings.
What Oddsmakers Say About Louisville
While the Cardinals are considered the fourth choice in the ACC on the BetMGM odds board, they’re not necessarily expected to post a better record than last year’s 8-5 mark.
BetMGM set the season wins total at 8.5, and the odds to go over are currently +125. Odds on the under are -150, meaning a $150 winning bet would net a profit of $100.
Oddsmakers also aren’t bullish on the Cards winning their first national title this season. They’re available at +20000, with 33 teams at shorter odds to lift the College Football Playoff Championship trophy in Houston on Jan. 8.
Louisville opens the season against Georgia Tech on Sept. 1. It’s possible sports betting operators may be able to start taking wagers in Kentucky during the college football season. Lawmakers passed House Bill 551 in late March, and Gov. Andy Beshear has said he wants to see sports betting available in some form by the start of the NFL season.
Be sure to get the latest Kentucky sportsbook promo codes with us as soon as they launch.
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