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Taxslayer Bowl: Louisville Cardinals at #23 Mississippi State Bulldogs

Can Bulldog Defense Hold Back Louisville's Productive Offense?

There are four games to be played on Dec 30, 2017, and the first one kicks off at 12 p.m. E.T. today as the Louisville Cardinals (8-4) meet the #23 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) in the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, FL. Our Louisville plays Mississippi State 2017 Taxslayer Bowl pick offers the Cardinals at -7.0 and the over/under at 63.0. Louisville comes to this game having gone 4-1 for its final five. The Cardinals won their final three games of the season and finished fourth in the ACC Atlantic Division at 4-4. The Bulldogs were 4-4 in the SEC and ended their season in fifth place in the West. The Bulldogs were 3-2 in their last five games.

Louisville Overview

The Cardinals are generating 561 YPG of offense and averaging 39.0 PPG. Of those yards, 311 are in the air and another 250 are achieved through the ground game. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (60.4 COMP%, 25 TDs, 6 INTs) is a tough player to stop. Jackson, who has fine passing chops, is also a fine rusher, scoring 17 TDs on the ground while averaging 6.9 YPA and accumulating 1,443 YDs on the ground. He’s also passed for 3,489 YDs. RBs Malik Williams (518 YDs, 8.4 AVG, 4 TDs) and Reggie Bonnafon (446 YDs, 5.2 AVG, 7 TDs) are both productive runners. Six receivers have 20 or more receptions with Jaylen Smith making 53 catches for 873 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 16.5 YPC. WR Dez Fitzpatrick has 45 catches with nine going for scores.

On defense, Louisville is allowing opponents 27.0 PPG and 387 YPG of offense with 233 via the air attack and 154 through the ground game. They can be vulnerable to the pass especially. CB Trumaine Washington, who has four picks and nine PD, will need to have a good game. LBs Jonathan Greenard (7.0 SCKs, 13.5 TFL) and James Hearns (7.0 SCKs, 15.5 TFL) will work to apply QB pressure and to stop the rush.

Cardinals Summary

  • Jackson is a premium player
  • Pass and ground attacks both very dangerous
  • Defense can let up big play

Mississippi State Overview

The Bulldogs are not much of a passing team. Of their 420 YPG of offense, just 170 of those yards are achieved through the air. They are good for 250 YPG on the ground and averaging 32.1 PPG. Although QB Nick Fitzgerald (55.6 COMP%, 15 TDs, 11 INTs) is not Lamar Jackson, he is still pretty good. Fitzgerald has 14 rushing TDs while averaging 6.1 YPA and running for a total of 984 yards. RB Aeris Williams (224 ATT, 1,019 YDs, 4.5 AVG, 5 TDs) has solid scoring potential. Overall, the receiving group is thin.

The Mississippi State defense is tough, as they are holding opponents to 20.4 PPG. Of the 302 YPG of offense given up, just 175 is passing yardage with the other 127 being rushing yardage. CB Mark McLaurin (68 TCKLs, 3 INT, 5 PD) is the anchor for the secondary. He’ll have a busy day against Jackson and company. Lineman Montez Sweat (44 TCKLs, 9.5 SCKs, 12.5 TFL) will look to lead the battle in the trenches.

Bulldogs Summary

  • Effective ground attack
  • Passing game is weak
  • Defense is tough

Three Taxslayer Bowl Takeaways<

In creating our Louisville plays Mississippi State 2017 Taxslayer Bowl pick, we provide these three takeaways-

  1. QB edge in a major manner to Cardinals
  2. Defensive edge to Bulldogs
  3. Louisville pass and ground attacks are lethal

Our 2017 Taxslayer Bowl Pick

It’s hard to not like the Cardinals in this game; they seem to have the advantage in so many different areas. Our Louisville plays Mississippi State 2017 Taxslayer Bowl pick is the Cardinals at -7.0. With such productive offenses, we do like the over at 63.0.

Summary Louisville Plays Mississippi State Picks- Cardinals at -7.0 and over 63.0

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pmroczka

Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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