TaxSlayer Bowl Spread: 2017 College Football Bowl Odds, Prediction

Payton Matthews | Updated Dec 29, 2017


Before the college football postseason takes a break for the NFL Sunday, there are four bowl games Saturday. The first is the TaxSlayer Bowl between Louisville and No. 23 Mississippi State.

December 30, 2017, 12:00 PM ET
TIAA Bank Field
Pointspread -7 -120
Moneyline -300
Over / Under o +62.5


Betting Action


Pointspread +7 +100
Moneyline +240
Over / Under u +62.5


Betting Action


Some may know the TaxSlayer Bowl, one of the longest-running postseason games in college football, by its original name: Gator Bowl. But we are now in the era of sponsorship on everything. Currently, the bowl has a six-year contractual matchup where it features SEC teams playing ACC teams for three years and SEC teams vs. Big Ten teams the other three years. Last season, Georgia Tech of the ACC beat Kentucky of the SEC 33-18.

Cardinals vs. Bulldogs Spread and Betting Analysis

SEC school Mississippi State is 1-1 all-time in the bowl, last playing and winning on New Year’s Day 2011 in a 52-14 romp over Michigan. The lone trip for the ACC’s Louisville was a loss on Jan. 2, 2006, to Virginia Tech, 35-24. U of L wasn’t an ACC program back then.

MSU and Louisville have met four times and the Bulldogs lead 4-0 – but they haven’t played since 1976. These programs do have a common opponent this year: Kentucky. Mississippi State trashed the visiting Wildcats 45-7 on Oct. 21. Louisville closed its regular season with a 44-17 victory at Kentucky. That’s the Cardinals’ only cover in their past eight non-conference games. Mississippi State, meanwhile, has covered just one of its past five vs. ACC schools.

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS) finished tied for third in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, definitely a disappointing result considering they brought back 2016 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson. This is expected to be the collegiate finale for Jackson, who had arguably the greatest two-year statistical stretch of any quarterback in NCAA history, as he’s turning pro. Jackson threw for 3,489 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed for 1,443 yards and 17 scores this year and led the country with 4,932 total yards, numbers that were as good if not better than his 2016 stats. Jackson was named ACC Player of the Year for a second straight season but finished third in the Heisman voting. Louisville is 0-2 vs. ranked teams this year, falling by double digits to Clemson and NC State.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

This isn’t the same Mississippi State team (8-4 SU, 7-5 ATS) that it was when it nearly upset Alabama on Nov. 11. That’s because Coach Dan Mullen has left for the top job at Florida and star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald suffered a major injury in the regular-season finale loss in the Egg Bowl to Ole Miss. Running backs coach and special teams coordinator Greg Knox is leading the team through the bowl game, then former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead takes over. Fitzgerald’s loss is huge as he threw for 1,782 yards and 15 scores while rushing for 984 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’ll be a Heisman candidate in 2018. In the bowl game, it’s freshman Keytaon Thompson. In relief of Fitzgerald in the Egg Bowl, he was 13 of 27 for 195 yards with a TD and pick while rushing for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Cardinals vs. Bulldogs Prediction