Louisville-Miami Primetime College Football Game Features Aspiring Heisman Contenders

Posted on: September 19, 2020, 09:55h. 

Last updated on: September 19, 2020, 11:36h.

Saturday’s college football game featuring Miami (Fla.) at Louisville isn’t just a matchup of ranked ACC foes. It also features a showdown between a couple of players who may just become Heisman Trophy finalists in quarterbacks D’Eriq King of Miami and Louisville’s Micale Cunningham.

College football Heisman
Miami quarterback D’Eriq King goes airborne to score a touchdown last Saturday in the Hurricanes win over UAB. (Image: MiamiHurricanes.com)

Think it’s too early to talk Heisman? Just consider Week 2 of last year, when Joe Burrow went 31-of-39 for 471 yards and four touchdowns in LSU’s 45-38 win at Texas in a top 10 showdown. That put Burrow, whose preseason odds for the national player of the year award were 200-1, into the national spotlight, and he eventually became the Heisman winner.

This April, when Circa Sports posted its Heisman odds for the 2020 season, oddsmakers listed King at 40-1 and Cunningham at 100-1. This week at FanDuel, King is the fifth-choice at 14-1, while Cunningham is the co-eighth choice at 20-1.

Miami’s game against the No. 18 Cardinals kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET. ABC will broadcast the game nationally.

King Raw But Talented

Other books offered shorter preseason odds on King, a senior who transferred earlier this year from Houston, where he starred as a dual-threat for the Cougars. In 2018, he set the American Athletic Conference record for total touchdowns with 50, despite missing 2.5 games because of injury.

In his debut last weekend for the Hurricanes, the No. 17 team in this week’s AP poll, King threw for 144 yards on 16-of-24 passing, and he added 83 yards in 12 carries in the 31-14 win over UAB. He threw and ran for scores for the 16th straight game, a Football Bowl Subdivision record.

“D’Eriq King is not a finished product. But his playmaking ability scares the bejeezus out of me when I’m a defensive guy, and I have to get that guy on the ground,” ESPN analyst David Pollack said on the network’s College Football Live.

Cunningham Developing Into Passer

Cunningham, a redshirt junior, has been a pivotal piece for the Cards offense since his freshman year. He’s blossomed from a run-first freshman into a legitimate dual-threat under second-year coach Scott Satterfield.

He threw for 2,061 yards while completing 62.4 percent of his passes. He finished with a 22-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and set a school record with his 194.8 efficiency rating.

You can look at how much he grew throughout the whole season last year, and by the end of the year, how much better his confidence level was about what we were trying to do,” Satterfield said prior to the Cardinals 35-21 season-opening win over Western Kentucky.

Cunningham threw for a career-high 343 yards and three scores in that victory. After that game, Cunningham saw his Heisman odds shorten significantly across the sportsbooks. His best value right now is 40-1 at DraftKings. But another strong showing Saturday may see those drop, too.

Bettors Like Favorite Louisville Over Miami

As for the game itself, Louisville is a 1.5-point favorite over Miami at FanDuel, DraftKings, and William Hill, and a two-point favorite at BetMGM.

Early betting at FanDuel had 70 percent of the spread bets and two-thirds of the handle on the Cards, publicity director Kevin Hennessy told Casino.org on Friday. ‘Canes bettors were placing more moneyline bets, with 67 percent of those on the Canes. But more money was still on Louisville.

Over at William Hill, Louisville attracting the majority of the spread bets and handle, too, and at BetMGM, the Cards-‘Canes game is the most-bet game on its board, with a couple other ACC contests (Syracuse-Pittsburgh and Duke-Boston College) right behind.