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Louisville at Rutgers preview

In the game that will decide who wins the Big East Conference championship and plays in a BCS bowl, Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the Cardinals of Louisville Thursday night in New Jersey (7:30 pm ET, ESPN).

In the early betting the Knights, coming off their first conference loss of this season Saturday at Pitt, were listed as three-point favorites over the Cardinals, who themselves have lost their last two games.

Five of the past six meetings of these 9-2 teams have gone over the total and the computer predicts another one here in the Big East title game odds.

View Louisville vs Rutgers Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Bettors looking to side with the Scarlet Knights in this one found them as 2-point favorites at Bovada. The over under number was opened first at BetOnline at 43.

Power Rankings / Prediction: According to the Power Rankings here at OddsShark it's the No. 52-rated Scarlet Knights and the No. 20-rated Cardinals in this matchup. Predictive formulas point to a 32-31 win for the Scarlet Knights on Thursday.

How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Rutgers's No. 95-ranked offense (22.9 PPG) against a Cardinals defense that ranks No. 44 at 24.5 PPG. The Scarlet Knights passing attack has averaged 208.9 yards per game, more than the Cardinals give up through the air (185.5 YPG on average).

In comparing defenses, the Cardinals own the league's No. 71-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 180.8 yards per game when on the road. Rutgers, on the other hand, rates No. 105 this week in generating rushing yards at home.

Louisville was a 23-20 loser in its last match at home against Connecticut. They failed to cover the 10-point spread as favorites, while the total score of 43 sent UNDER bettors to the payout window. In their last game, Louisville's aerial attack generated 331 yards but it was the Huskies coming away with a 23-20 victory over Louisville at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Rutgers lost its last outing, a 27-6 result against Pittsburgh on November 24. Rutgers failed to cover in that game as a 1.5-point underdog, while the 33 combined points took the game UNDER the total. Rutgers was hammered in its last outing, as Pittsburgh ran up a 27-6 score against them at Heinz Field.

Louisville Cardinals Trends:
When playing in November are 5-5
When playing on turf are 8-2
After outgaining opponent are 8-2
When playing within the conference are 7-3

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Trends:
When playing in November are 5-5
When playing on turf are 9-1
After being outgained are 5-5
When playing within the conference are 7-3

A few Cardinals at Scarlet Knights trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Louisville's last 6 games when playing Rutgers
Louisville is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games
Louisville is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Louisville's last 8 games on the road
Rutgers is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
Rutgers is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Rutgers's last 6 games when playing Louisville
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Rutgers's last 7 games