Air Force vs. Louisville First Responder Bowl Best Bets and Odds Breakdown

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Malik Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

Air Force will take their ground attack into the First Responder Bowl where they hope to roll over a Louisville team that ended their season with a blowout loss to Kentucky. Let’s find out which team is poised to get the cover and keep cashing our college football picks!

Air Force Falcons vs. Louisville Cardinals

Tuesday, December 28, 2021 – 3:15 PM EST at Gerald J. Ford Stadium

Air Force has been favored in every game they’ve played this season except as three-point road dogs to Boise State, a game they won 24-17, back on October 16th. The Falcons ended their season 9-3 straight up and 8-4 against the all-important number.

Of their three losses, only one can be considered a bad loss, and that was their 49-45 setback to Utah State in which they failed as 9 ½ point home chalk way back on September 18th.

The other two defeats came in consecutive weeks when they bowed, 20-14, to No. 22 San Diego State, as three-point home favorites followed by a 21-14 overtime loss to Army as 2 ½ point home chalk. Both losses came from opponents that are in the same class as the Falcons and both were competitive games down to the very end.

The last time Air Force took the field they put the boots to UNLV and did so exclusively via the ground game. Not a pass was thrown by Air Force but the ball was spread to 13 different rushers led by Emmanuel Michel and Brad Roberts who had 123 and 98 rushing yards, respectively.

In total, five different rushers scored six touchdowns and a whopping 511 rushing yards was chewed up by the Falcons in their 48-14 victory over the Rebels.

Cardinals Finish at .500

After a disappointing 4-7 record in 2020, the Cardinals were hoping to see vast improvement this year. But what they got was little more than a baby step in that direction in posting a 6-6 straight up and ATS mark. It had glimpses of brilliance sprinkled with several examples of a team not quite ready for prime time.

After flexing their offensive muscles in lopsided wins over Syracuse and Duke, they came crashing back to earth when they fell to Kentucky, 52-21, as a three-point home favorite. It was a bitter way to end the season but the Cardinals’ defense had no answer for the riddle that was a relentless Wildcats’ ground-and-pound attack that chalked up 362 rushing yards.

In total, Kentucky scored seven rushing touchdowns with the junior quarterback, Will Levis, scoring four of them. "They had the ball most of the first half and it was just one of those nights where it's just snowballing at that point," Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. "If you're not doing something good on one side of the ball, you hope the other side picks you up. That didn't happen tonight."

Wanna Make a Bet?

The college football odds in this game are revealing the Cardinals as 1 ½ point neutral-site favorites and I can’t quite understand why. The obvious comparison is how well, or poorly, they contained Kentucky’s 22nd ranked rushing offense in their last game when they must now contend with the No. 1 running attack in the nation that averages a stunning 341.5 yards per game.

Of course, the difference here is that the Wildcats can pass while the Falcons do very little of that, and did literally none of it in their last outing. And on the flip side of the ball, the Air Force defense is good – really good.

They rank 20th defending the pass, 7th defending the run, and are 5th in total yards allowed while checking in at 13th in points allowed, surrendering just 19.1 PPG. This looks like a golden opportunity for the Falcons to spread their wings if you’ll pardon the pun, and fly away with a postseason victory.

NCAAF Pick: Air Force +1 ½ (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Air Force +1 ½ (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.