Free Week 1 Prediction: 49ers vs Cardinals Odds
Looking for Charlotte 49ers vs. Louisville Cardinals free picks? Week 1 College football betting sees the 49ers taking on the #19 Cardinals Thursday, September 1st at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
Charlotte 49ers (0-0) vs. Louisville Cardinals (0-0)
Date: Thursday, September 1st
Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky
NCAA Football Spread: Louisville -39.5
NCAA Betting Total: 61.0
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Louisville will return 18 starters in 2016 from a team that went 8-5 in 2015. 10 of those will be on offense including quarterback Lamar Jackson.
On the other side, Charlotte brings back 17 starters from a team that went just 2-10 in 2015. Returning starters from a team that was that bad doesn’t say much for the outlook on 2016 as experience only goes so far when you play that terribly.
The key to Louisville’s success this season lies in the hands (or feet) of Lamar Jackson.
Jackson should have no issue with the Charlotte defense and will likely benefit from the security of being the clear starting quarterback after Louisville cycled through three last season.
There is no doubt that a team like Charlotte will struggle against someone as talented and deep as Louisville. However, the question is what will Charlotte be able to do to prevent Louisville from covering the spread.
The 49ers relied very heavily on the run game in 2015 as they attempted 562 rushing plays while only 375 passing plays. That mindset for Charlotte in this matchup will not bode well.
Here is why: The Louisville defense returns 8 starters from a unit that was the 14th best rushing defense in the country.
They allowed only 3.28 yards per carry and less than one rushing touchdown per game. Despite a heavy reliance on the run game, Charlotte only averaged 3.5 yards per carry and scored just 9 rushing touchdowns.
It is difficult to come back without throwing the ball. Charlotte quarterbacks had a 52.3 completion percentage and threw 23 interceptions.
That type of passing game will cause you to struggle against any team in any conference – never mind one of the premier defenses in the ACC. You have to expect the 49ers will stick with what they know.
They will try to slow the game down by pounding the run game.
If Charlotte decides to stick to a run heavy offense, that will be great for the dangerous Louisville front. They have prided themselves over the last few seasons on being a dominant run defense.
If Charlotte decides to pass – which they struggled mightily in 2015 doing, the Louisville defense will cause problems there too.
The Cardinals were tied for 14th in the nation last season with 17 interceptions.
Louisville was also tied for 9th in the nation in 2015 with 38 sacks. All of this spells big trouble for Charlotte as they averaged just 17.5 points per game last season.
Jackson should run all over the 49ers and this Cardinals defense will stifle any attack that Charlotte sends their way.
39.5 is a ton of points and there’s no telling what will happen late in the game when Louisville is resting their guys, but I think the depth that Louisville has will still overmatch Charlotte’s best unit.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
- Louisville is 15-3 ATS in their last 18 games vs CUSA teams.
- Charlotte is 1-7-2 ATS in their last 10 games.
- Over is 4-1 in Louisville’s last 5 games.
- Louisville has outgained their opponent in 8 of their last 10 games.
Free Week 1 NCAA Football Prediction
I like Jackson to run for at least 100 yards in the first half and Charlotte could be held scoreless. The Charlotte running attack may break one or two throughout the game but that will be it.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Louisville -39.5
I would go heavier on the first half pick as the Cardinals should easily be up big by half time. I still like them to cover the whole game too with the Cardinals backups still trying to prove they can be starters this early in the season.
BONUS: Louisville -20.5 1st half
Week 1 Free Score Prediction: Louisville 55 – Charlotte 13
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