Louisville was one of the most inconsistent teams in the country this season, and they’re a tough team to figure out at just 6-6. Over the final seven weeks of the season, Louisville flip-flopped back and forth between wins and losses. Air Force carries much better momentum into this game with three straight wins to close the season, including an impressive overtime win over Nevada. This should be one of the more competitive non-New Year’s Six bowls this season, and while it is taking place in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, I hope you have the chance to experience what should be a fun one.
Air Force Falcons Vs. Louisville Cardinals Betting Odds
Air Force Falcons Betting Odds
On Air Force’s way to a 9-3 record, it had some excellent resume-building moments, including wins over Nevada and Wyoming as well as one-score losses to the two division winners in the Mountain West conference in San Diego State and Utah State. Troy Calhoun has been the Air Force coach since 2007 and has a 5-5 record in bowl games throughout his time with the academy.
Air Force’s offense is true to the stereotypical service academy with just 82.5 passing yards per game, the second-fewest in the country, and 340.8 rushing yards per game, the most in the country. Brad Roberts took 279 carries for 1,279 yards and 13 touchdowns, and his production was good enough to be named the First Team All-Mountain West running back. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels only threw for 932 yards, with 698 yards coming on the ground. The Falcons boast a deep running back corps behind Roberts, as well.
Defensively, Air Force had an excellent season and allowed just 19.1 points per game, the 13th-fewest in the country, and 288.1 yards per game, the fifth-fewest in the country. However, much of that raw defensive success comes down to the offense’s ability to control possession rather than the team’s defensive talent. Vince Sanford is the player to look out for with his 17 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks during the regular season.
Louisville Cardinals Betting Odds
It would be a bit of an overstatement to say Scott Satterfield’s job is on the line in this bowl game, but he could use a win after an up-and-down year following the team’s 4-7 record last season. Satterfield has a 4-0 all-time bowl record, including a win with Louisville in the Music City Bowl in 2019, so he has proven he knows how to get his players motivated for these games.
Louisville is best known for being the team that Malik Cunningham, one of the most fun players in the country to watch, plays on. Cunningham finished the regular season with 3,701 yards of offense, 14th-most in the country, and had 19 rushing touchdowns and 18 passing touchdowns. Cunningham ran for 224 yards on his own against Duke earlier this year, and he will present a significant challenge for Air Force’s run defense. Louisville didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver, but it has plenty of talented skill position players who can contribute.
The Cardinals are not a standout defensive team, and they especially struggled against the run as they ranked 75th in the country with 156.7 rushing yards per game allowed. Their front seven doesn’t pack a powerful punch and will likely struggle to contain Air Force’s ground game. Yasir Abdullah, who led the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks, will need to step up and have a big game to slow down the Falcons’ ground game.
Air Force Falcons Vs. Louisville Cardinals Picks & Prediction
- Falcons are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games
- Cardinals are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games against the Mountain West Conference
- Under is 17-7 in the Falcons’ last 24 games overall
- Under is 5-1 in the Cardinals’ last 6 bowl games
Malik Cunningham has already announced that he will be returning to Louisville for his final season of college eligibility. Still, he will want to end this rocky season with a statement win. Air Force’s defense is better on paper than in practice, and Cunningham should be able to take advantage. The Falcons will generate some chunk yardage on the ground against Louisville’s poor rush defense, and Air Force’s big-game experience will help them here. However, I like Scott Satterfield’s bowl record as a positive boost, and I believe Cunningham is the best player on either of these teams. I expect a high-scoring game that the Cardinals win by about a field goal.
My Pick: Cardinals win 30-27, Cardinals cover, over 55.5 points