BOZICH | Louisville, Kentucky big opening week football favorites; Indiana 21-point underdog
Kentucky (big) and Louisville (bigger) are considerable favorites in their season-opening football games while Indiana is a full-sized underdog for its opener with Ohio State.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Only 14 weeks until the start of the 2017 college football season.
ESPN announced its schedule will kickoff with Ohio State’s visit to Memorial Stadium at Indiana Aug. 31. The game will begin at 8 p.m. and, fingers crossed, end before midnight. Good luck finding a hotel room in Monroe County. Ohio State fans travel.
Two days later Louisville, Kentucky and Western Kentucky will join the activity.
The Cardinals get Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. No game time on that one, although Fox Sports will air the game locally on WDRB.
The Wildcats visit Southern Mississippi, a team that upset UK in Lexington last season. That game will kick at 4 p.m. EDT. Western Kentucky renews its rivalry with Eastern Kentucky in Bowling Green. That game also lacks a start time.
No matter when those games begin, Las Vegas is ready with early lines. In fact, Vegas is ready with lines for the complete first weekend. (The link.)
Ohio State is expected to contend for the national championship. National title contenders are not expected to struggle with Indiana and its new coaching staff.
Translation: Ohio State by 21.
Ohio State has defeated IU by 21, 7, 15 and 28 the last four times the schools have played. That’s an average of nearly 18 points.
I’d take the points -- even noting that former IU head coach Kevin Wilson runs Ohio State’s offense and will likely be motivated to hang 70 on the Hoosiers.
Purdue has won eight games the last three seasons. That is why Jeff Brohm was recruited from Western Kentucky to coach the Boilermakers.
Purdue lost nine games last season by an average of 22 points. A football man that I respect watched the Boilermakers’ spring game last month and offered this analysis of the Purdue receivers: “They short, but they’re slow.”
Louisville is favored by 27.
Seven of the Cards’ nine wins last season were by more than 27. Give the points. Louisville is not shy about winning with gusto.
You remember that Kentucky lost its season opener to Southern Miss, 44-35. You remember that the Wildcats went on to win seven games, including victories over South Carolina, Mississippi State and Louisville.
What you don’t remember is what happened to Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles finished 7-6 after starting 4-1. Two of their last three defeats were against Charlotte and North Texas, teams with losing records.
Kentucky opened as a 13 1/2 point favorite in Hattiesburg. Brett Favre isn’t walking through that door. Give the points.
Relax, Western Kentucky fans. I’m not excluding you. No line was listed for WKU’s game with the Colonels, although I’m certain one will arrive by Sept. 2.
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