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Louisville Cardinals Football vs Kentucky Wildcats: 3 keys, odds, picks and predictions

The oddsmakers and experts don’t like the Cats’ chances in this one.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Are you ready to watch some football?

The Cats take on the Louisville Cardinals this Saturday at Noon ET.

Now, the Cards are not what they were last year, but they are still very good. They are coming off of a very convincing 56-10 win over Syracuse last weekend. Louisville and Kentucky both have the same record at 7-4, while Benny Snell has rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season and Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson is having an even better season than last season when he won the Heisman trophy.

Jackson has spoken several times this year about wanting that game last year and he is going to try and get revenge this weekend so everyone can forget about that fumble.

The Cats are a 10-point underdog this weekend, and it will take a lot of great plays and smart defense to beat Lamar Jackson and the Cards this weekend. If the Cats are going to get a HUGE win this weekend and have a chance at a better bow game, then here are three things they need to do, to grab a big upset:

1. Force Louisville to use anyone besides Lamar Jackson.

The junior quarterback is having another Heisman worthy season this year, passing for 3,273 yards through the first 11 games and rushing for almost 1,300 yards. Jackson has also accounted for 40 of Louisville’s offensive touchdowns this season, 23 through the air and 17 on the ground.

With that being said: Lamar Jackson is insanely good, but that is basically all Louisville has. Louisville ranks third in the nation in total offense with 560 yards-per-game, while mostly being all because of Lamar Jackson. But, I’ll say this: Kentucky has faced three teams so far this season with great receivers (Ole Miss, Southern Miss, and Missouri.).

This Saturday I believe is number four. The Cards have 3 very fast and skilled receivers in Dez Fitzpatrick, Jaylen Smith and Seth Dawkins. Smith has 47 catches for 798 yards this season. The Cats will need to make sure they force Louisville to run the ball and make Jackson stay in the pocket so he can’t hurt you with his legs.

2. Win the Time of Possession.

Louisville is averaging just over 30 minutes per-possession this season while the opposing teams are averaging just under 30 minutes-per-game this season, and that’s how they are being beat. If you can manage to use a lot of clock, Louisville is very beatable.

Louisville is allowing opponents to convert on nearly 50% of 3rd downs when it is a long-sustained drive of four minutes or longer. Benny Snell has rushed for 1,107 yards this season and scored 16 touchdowns.

If the Mike Summers offensive line can open up holes, that will be game changing for Kentucky. The Cards have a very good defensive back in Jaire Alexander, so long pass plays, probably won’t work If Kentucky can get to 3rd and 3 or 4, they HAVE to covert to keep drives going and get points… even if it’s 3 points!

If the Cats are going to win, I believe they need to have at least 35-37 minutes of possession.

3. Don’t leave the redzone empty handed.

Kentucky is spoiled. They have an amazing kicker in Austin MacGinnis, who has won several games for the Cats and he has made over 90% of his field goals in the redzone during his tenure at Kentucky.

Kentucky has the 8th ranked redzone offense in the country, scoring 94 percent of the time. That being said, just a field goal won’t work every time this weekend in order to win. If the cats are going to win this weekend, they have to score a touchdown AT LEAST 75 percent of the time in the redzone.

Louisville will take advantage of every opportunity they have on offense, so Kentucky better do the same by scoring 7 rather than 3 in the redzone this weekend.

The Cats will have their hands full this weekend, but I think it’s possible to get a win.

My Prediction:

Lamar Jackson is very good and I think he will be playing for revenge this weekend after that embarrassing fumble against the Cats last weekend. I could see Jackson accounting for around 400 yards of offense for the Cards this weekend.

I do think that Josh Allen and Denzil Ware are good enough to make Jackson uncomfortable and put him on his back though. I see Stephen Johnson having a HUGE game on senior day and Benny Snell crushing that Louisville defense. I think the cats win on a field goal by the best kicker ion Kentucky History, Austin MacGinnis.

Kentucky 31 Louisville 28

Now, this is just my thoughts on the game, what are some of the other experts saying?

Joe Mussatto – SEC Country: The Cardinals are third in the country in yards per game, and Jackson’s numbers are almost as good as his Heisman campaign last season. That doesn’t bode well for a struggling Kentucky defense. Louisville 38, Kentucky 31.

Kyle Tucker – SEC Country: An angry Jackson — he said he’s waited a year to redeem himself after the clinching fumble last season — who is also trying to put on a Heisman-invite-worthy performance, should be scary for UK’s defense. Louisville 41, Kentucky 31.

Pete Fiutak – College Football News - Kentucky has yet to come up with more than 486 yards.

The Wildcats will play decent defense for a while, but after last year’s loss – throwing three picks, to go along with all of the magnificence – Jackson is going to be Jackson with a magnificent performance to make a claim to be on everyone’s Heisman ballot.

Final Score: Louisville 38, Kentucky 34

Enjoy the weekend, happy holidays, and let us know what your predictions are in the comments!