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Cardinals vs Cougars Preview

Houston Cougars Louisville Cardinals

It's a mess near the top of the American Athletic Conference standings, but some of that will get sorted out when the Louisville Cardinals and Houston Cougars get it on Saturday night at Papa John's Stadium (7 pm ET, ESPNU).

Both teams are 4-1 in conference play, which puts them in a second-place tie in the AAC, a half-game behind Central Florida.

Louisville may only have one loss this season, but it's also just 4-5 ATS.

Houston, on the other hand, has lost twice this year, but is a sparkling 8-1 ATS.

These former Conference USA rivals haven't met since 2004.

As of early this week the 'Ville was favored by 17 points over the Cougars.

The Cardinals currently sport a record of 8-1, and have posted a corresponding betting slate of 4-5 ATS. The Cougars are 7-2 and 8-1 ATS. Betting totals have seen the Cardinals post a 2-7 over under record this season, while the Cougars have gone 5-4 against the number.

View Houston Cougars vs Louisville Cardinals Odds and Stats.

The Cougars were listed as 16.5-point underdogs on the opening NCAA football line at Bovada and most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark. No total was available early in the week.

The power rankings show a disparity between these teams, with the Cardinals rated this week at No. 9 and the Cougars sitting at No. 21. It may or may not play a role in OddsShark score prediction models that turned out a 51-40 result in favor of the Cardinals this week.

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Houston lost its last outing, a 19-14 result against Central Florida on November 9. Houston covered in that game as a 13.5-point underdog, while the 33 combined points took the game UNDER the total. The Cougars suffered a Week 11 loss against Central Florida in their last game, falling 19-14 at Bright House Networks Stadium.

How They Match Up:
The game also pits Louisville's No. 18-ranked offense, averaging 38.44 PPG, against a Cougars defense that ranks No. 30 this week at 22 PPG. The Cardinals aerial game is averaging 328.56 yards per game, more than the Cougars secondary allows through the air, 277.56 YPG per game.

Defensively, the Cougars feature the league's No. 45-rated road run defense, allowing 155 yards per game. Louisville, meanwhile, ranks No. 90 in rushing offense at home.

A few Cougars at Cardinals trends to consider:
Houston is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games
Houston is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Houston's last 6 games
Houston is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Louisville is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
Louisville is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Louisville's last 5 games
Louisville is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games at home

Next up:
Houston at Cincinnati, Saturday, November 23rd
Louisville at Memphis, Saturday, November 23rd