When the week began, U of L was favored by six over Cincinnati. The number is down to three points.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Somebody help me. I'm looking for an explanation. Not to make a bet. Just to understand.
I'm trying to determine why the point spread for the Cincinnati-Louisville football game Friday night has dropped from 6 to 3 ½ and stayed there.
Actually, according to USA Today, three web sites have the spread at 3 points on Thursday afternoon. What's happened in the last four days to slice the line in half?
I know the line is placed in the spot where it will draw an equal amount of money on both teams. So the money has obviously been flowing toward UC. But I'm surprised that folks wagering on the Bearcats only need 3 points to believe they are going to win Papa John's Cardinals Stadium.
Louisville has won three games by five points or less. I guess you have to start there. The Cardinals really haven't dominated any FBS teams, other than Kentucky. And Louisville has lost four straight to UC. I get that.
Cincinnati has a nice win over Virginia Tech, but Virginia Tech has lost four of eight games. That's not Michael Vick Virginia Tech that we're talking about. The Hokies lost to Pitt, too.
Virginia Tech also lost to North Carolina. And the Cards beat the Tar Heels.
Here's another thing: Cincinnati hasn't won a road game this season. The Bearcats have only played one, losing last week at Toledo. The Virginia Tech game was played on a neutral site.
Cincinnati is also without defensive end Walter Stewart, its best defensive lineman, a guy with five sacks and two forced fumbles.
Strength of schedule? Louisville's schedule has been nothing to brag about. Cincinnati's is worse. Jeff Sagarin puts Louisville's SOS at 105, but UC's at 133. UC has played two FCS programs (Delaware State and Fordham). I thought one FCS team per season max was the rule. UC hasn't beaten an FBS team with a winning record.
Doesn't seem to matter. Sagarin ranks UC better by 1 ½ points, not including the 2.59 points he gives for home field advantage.
And the folks at AccuScore.com would not be shocked if Cincinnati won. They've placed U of L's win probability at 56.5 percent, extremely modest for an unbeaten home team.
Why? They give UC an edge in not turning over the football and expect the Bearcats to run the ball.
The floor is open for suggestions. Why is the number only 3 1/2 or 3?