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UCF vs. Louisville picks and best bets for Week 3

Knocking on the door of the AP Top 25, the Knights head to Louisville for a Friday Night non-conference showdown.

Dillon Gabriel of the UCF Knights attempts a pass during warmups against Bethune Cookman Wildcats at the Bounce House on September 11, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

The big Friday night game in college football will be a non-conference matchup under the lights as the UCF Knights travel up to Cardinal Stadium to face the Louisville Cardinals at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

UCF (2-0) is knocking on the door of the AP Top 25 by virtue of handling business in their first two games of the 2021 season. After edging Boise State at home in Week 1, Gus Malzahn’s easily dispatched of Bethune Cookman 63-14 in a game where quarterback Dillon Gabriel went 23-36 through the air for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a 44-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, one his head coach drew comparisons to Cam Newton.

Louisville (1-1) got into the win column last week with a 30-3 victory over in-state foe Eastern Kentucky. Receiver Ahmari Huggins-Bruce had an explosive game to the tune of four receptions for 151 yards. They got plenty of production out of their special teams with Braden Smith housing a 49-yard punt return for a touchdown and Kei’Trel Clark coming away with two interceptions.

Here’s all the data you’ll want, and a pick for the game!

SP+ Rankings

UCF: 27th overall, 8th offense, 77th defense
Louisville: 58th overall, 21st offense, 94th defense

Injury update


WR Dionte Marks is questionable – Leg


WR Shai Werts is out indefinitely – Lower Body


Against The Spread

UCF: 3-7 ATS (2020)
Louisville: 5-5-1 ATS (2020)


UCF: Over 6-4 (2020)
Louisville: Over 7-4 (2020)

Returning/Overall Talent from 247Sports

UCF: 62nd overall, 53rd offense, 67th defense
Louisville: 60th overall, 57th offense, 62nd defense

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: UCF -7
Total: 67
Moneyline: UCF -265, Louisville +215

Opening line: UCF -7
Opening total: 64.5


68 degrees, 4 MPH wind SSW, 21% chance of rain

The Pick

UCF -7

This is the second time Louisville is going up against an SP+ Top 10 offense this season and it didn’t go well for Scott Satterfield’s group the first time. In their 43-24 loss to Ole Miss in Week 1, the Cards gave up 569 yards on 7.8 yards per play and that’s not even taking into account that the Rebels were penalized for 125 yards in that matchup.

Considering there’s some similarities between the two offenses through Ole Miss OC Jeff Lebby, one would imagine the Knights taking a similar approach to attack the vulnerable Cardinals on the road. Expect UCF to cover here as the seat for Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield gets even warmer.

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