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Louisville Cardinals vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Odds - Free Pick

Louisville Cardinals (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS)
College Bowl Games
Date/Time: Saturday, December 30, 12:00pm ET
Where: EverBank Field - Jacksonville, Florida
TV: ESPN
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: LOU -6.5/MSU +6.5
Over/Under Total: 63

This Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida, we get to watch another Bowl game that once had a great name that decided to whore itself out to the corporations and change its name to the Taxslayer Bowl. Since 1946 it was the Gator Bowl, the Mazda Gator Bowl, Outback Gator Bowl, Toyota Gator Bowl...well...you get the point. Anyhow, in this years TAXSLAYER BOWL, we have the Louisville Cardinals and the Mississippi State Bulldogs facing off in what should be an rather entertaining and competitive game.

Both teams come into this game with an 8-4 overall record. Louisville finished third place in the ACC Atlantic Division behind Clemson and NC State. Mississippi State, who represents the SEC in this game, finished 2017 fourth place in the SEC West behind Auburn, Alabama, and LSU. These two teams are very similar that at times they appeared to be true contenders for their conference, but then other times they would absolutely just lay an egg when it mattered. I feel these two teams are very much alike which will make this game a fun one to watch.

Since this game was put on the board, Louisville has been a pretty big favorite. As of December 23rd, the Cardinals were 6.5 point favorites while the total points are set at 63 combined. We are rapidly approaching game time and since the line opened, much of the action is on the Cardinals to get the cover. 61% of the documented action is on Louisville while just 39% likes Mississippi State. If the trend keeps leaning this much in favor of Louisville, I could see this game being seven or even seven and a half points by kickoff on Saturday.

When you hear the name Louisville, one player comes to mind, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson. That is a blessing and a curse. The blessing being that Louisville is graced with a superstar playmaker but the curse is the fact that Jackson has really not had much help around him causing this team to not be a contender on a national level. Lamar Jackson led the Cardinals to a top 15 passing offense and a top 15 rushing offense but the problem was if you stopped Lamar Jackson, you stopped the Cardinals. Also, the Louisville defense, who had some pretty legit talent was just not a successful unit in 2017. Louisville allowed opponents to score slightly over 27 points per game putting them 71st in the nation in scoring defense. This team could have been in a much larger bowl game but two of their four losses were pretty inexcusable. They lost to Clemson and NC State which can be forgiven but when you lose to Boston College and Wake Forest down the stretch, that will show that there were some issues with this squad that I am not sure will get better anytime soon.

Now onto Mississippi State. Just like Louisville, this team showed flashes of greatness only to fall on their faces at other times. For example, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State went into Baton Rouge to take on LSU and absolutely crushed the Tigers 37-7. After this game, the media, ESPN, and many SEC experts were claiming that Dan Mullen had this team on the verge of not only an SEC West title but that they could compete for the SEC as a whole and a College Football Playoff spot. Fast forward a week later in Athens, Georgia and all that chatter stopped. The Georgia Bulldogs...the real Dawgs of the SEC destroyed Miss State by a 31-3 score and ended all talk of an Mississippi State SEC title.

As the season progressed it was much of the same with Miss State. They got the win at LSU and then the loss to Georgia then went on to beat Texas A&M and play tough against Alabama...a game they actually almost won. Remember, two of the four losses that Miss State suffered were to the two teams that made the SEC title game (Georgia and Auburn). This team is probably a tad better than their record...well, that was until they laid the bed against Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. However, with all that said, not only was this team up and down all year, their head coach, Dan Mullen is gone. Mullen accepted the head coach job at Florida just a few weeks ago and now the Bulldogs will be coached by Joe Moorehead, the former Penn State offensive coordinator but that will not take place until after the bowl season is over. Greg Knox, the Mississippi State running backs coach will be the coach for the Taxslayer Bowl.

There are many factors that will come into play in this game. Lamar Jackson, the Louisville defense, how Mississippi State will respond to their coach leaving...the list goes on. I for one have this deep gut feeling the Bulldogs will come together to prove the absence of Dan Mullen did not affect them. Am I saying that Mississippi State will beat Louisville? No, but I think we are in store for a fun and very competitive game. I think whoever wins this game wins it something like 30-27 which means regardless of who takes home the Taxslayer Bowl win, the Mississippi State Bulldogs will cover the 6.5.

Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE MISS STATE BULLDOGS +6.5 - If you went to the store and two of the same exact product were sitting side by side; One for $105.00 and one for $110.00, which would you buy? THE CHEAPER ONE OF COURSE! So why are you still betting at -110 odds when you could be betting at -105? Dump your overpriced bookie TODAY and start enjoying the benefits of discounted odds at the web's BEST sportsbook: 5Dimes!

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