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Sugar Bowl betting preview, pick

The class of the Big East Conference this season takes on an SEC power when 10-2 Louisville squares off against 11-1 Florida in the Sugar Bowl Wednesday, Jan. 2 at the Superdome in New Orleans (8:30 pm ET, ESPN).

The early Sugar Bowl betting odds showed the Gators, who went 7-1 in SEC play but missed out on a berth in the conference championship game because of a loss to Georgia, as 13-point favorites over the Cardinals. Louisville started 9-0, lost two in a row, but then salvaged their season with a come-from-behind victory at Rutgers.

Faves are 4-1-1 ATS in the past 6 Sugar Bowls, while this game has trended UNDER in the last decade (7-3). [ More Sugar Bowl betting trends, matchup stats and more, click here ]

View Louisville vs Florida Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Those siding with the visitors in this one saw the Cardinals listed as 14.5-point underdogs earlier this week at Bovada. Meanwhile, the over under line was 45.5 in early betting at BetOnline.

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Louisville Bowl History


Year Bowl Team1 Score Team2 Score Team2Line ATS win
1998 Motor City Bowl Marshall 48 Louisville 29 -3.5 MARSHL
1999 Humanitarian Bowl Louisville 31 Boise State 34 4.5 BOISE
2000 Liberty Bowl Colorado State 22 Louisville 17 1.5 COLOST
2001 Liberty Bowl BYU 10 Louisville 28 -2.5 LOUISV
2002 GMAC Bowl Marshall 38 Louisville 15 2.5 MARSHL
2003 GMAC Bowl Miami (Ohio) 49 Louisville 28 13 MIA.OH
2004 Liberty Bowl Boise State 40 Louisville 44 -9.5 BOISE
2005 Gator Bowl Louisville 24 Virginia Tech 35 -9.5 VTECH
2006 Orange Bowl Wake Forest 13 Louisville 24 -10 LOUISV
2010 St. Petersburg Bowl Louisville 31 Southern Miss 28 2 LOUISV
2011 Belk Bowl Louisville 24 North Carolina State 31 -1.5 N.C.ST

Florida Bowl History


1995 Fiesta Bowl Florida 24 Nebraska 62 -3.5 NEBR
1996 Sugar Bowl Florida 52 Florida State 20 3 FLA
1997 Capital One Bowl Penn State 6 Florida 21 -15 Push
1998 Orange Bowl Florida 31 Syracuse 10 7 FLA
1999 Capital One Bowl Michigan State 37 Florida 34 -1 MICHST
2000 Sugar Bowl Miami 37 Florida 20 6 MIAMI
2001 Orange Bowl Florida 56 Maryland 23 14.5 FLA
2002 Outback Bowl Florida 30 Michigan 38 -1.5 MICH
2003 Outback Bowl Iowa 37 Florida 17 -4 IOWA
2004 Chick-Fil-A Bowl Florida 10 Miami 27 -3 MIAMI
2005 Outback Bowl Iowa 24 Florida 31 1 FLA
2006 BCS Championship Game Florida 41 Ohio State 14 -7 FLA
2007 Capital One Bowl Michigan 41 Florida 35 -10.5 MICH
2008 BCS Championship Game Florida 24 Oklahoma 14 3 FLA
2009 Sugar Bowl Cincinnati 24 Florida 51 -12.5 FLA
2010 Outback Bowl Penn State 24 Florida 37 -7 FLA
2011 Gator Bowl Florida 24 Ohio State 17 2.5 FLA

How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Florida's No. 76-ranked offense (26.8 PPG) against a Cardinals defense that ranks No. 37 at 23.8 PPG. The Gators passing attack has averaged 143.9 yards per game, less than the Cardinals give up through the air (193.8 YPG on average).

Defensively, the Cardinals feature the league's No. 50-rated road run defense, allowing 155.4 yards per game. Florida, meanwhile, ranks No. 61 in rushing offense at home.

Last time out for Louisville, they were a 20-17 winner as they battled Rutgers on the road. Louisville covered in the match as a 3.5-point underdog, while 37 combined points moved the game UNDER for totals bettors. The Cardinals grabbed a Week 14 victory over the Scarlet Knights in their last game, winning 20-17 at Rutgers Stadium.

Florida won its last outing, a 37-26 result against Florida State on November 24. Florida covered in that game as a 7-point underdog, while the 63 combined points took the game OVER the total. Mike Gillislee tore up the turf for 140 rushing yards in the latest Gators game, a 37-26 win over the Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Louisville Cardinals Trends:
When playing in January are 1-1
When playing on turf are 8-2
After outgaining opponent are 8-2
When an underdog on the road are 6-4

Florida Gators Trends:
When playing in January are 7-3
When playing on turf are 7-3
After outgaining opponent are 8-2
When favored at home are 10-0

A few Cardinals at Gators trends to consider:
Louisville is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games
Louisville is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
Florida is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games
Florida is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games