Mississippi State (6-6) is playing in a school-record 10th straight bowl and are 6-3 in the previous nine games. The Bulldogs won three of their last four games to get bowl eligible and keep the program’s postseason streak alive. The clinching win was a wild 21-20 victory over rival Ole Miss on Thanksgiving Night in the Egg Bowl. Mississippi State will start Tommy Stevens at quarterback in place of Garrett Shrader, who is out with an injury. Stevens was benched earlier this season. The Bulldogs offense revolves around running back Kylin Hill, who led the SEC in rushing with 1,347 yards.
Louisville (7-5) is making its 18th bowl appearance in the last 22 seasons with a 9-11-1 all-time record. The Cardinals are no strangers to the Music City Bowl and beat Texas A&M in 2015 behind 226 rushing yards from Lamar Jackson. Louisville’s ground attack re-emerged in 2019 thanks to Javian Hawkins, who set a freshman program record with 1,420 yards this season, the fourth-most overall in school history. First-year head coach Scott Satterfield won ACC Coach of the Year for turning around a program that went 2-10 last season.
ESPN’s FPI gives Mississippi State a 64.9% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Monday’s Music City Bowl between the Bulldogs and Cardinals.
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Mississippi State vs. Louisville Game Details
Date: Monday, December 30
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tennessee)
Spread: Mississippi State -4.5
This line opened at Mississippi State -5.5 and has been bet down slightly to Mississippi State -4.5 with the slight majority of the bets and money coming in on Louisville. This line is correlated with the action and is moving with the market.
- Mississippi State is 6-6 SU and 5-7 ATS this season
- Louisville is 7-5 SU and 7-5 ATS this season
- Over is 6-6 in Mississippi State games this season
- Over is 7-5 in Louisville games this season
Analysis & Pick
It’s been a redemption season for Louisville. The Cardinals are the first team in ACC history to go from 0-8 in league play to 5-3 the following season. I think Louisville’s offense will have some success on the outside. The Cardinals ranked third in the ACC in scoring offense averaging 32.7 points per game. Hawkins is a blur and averaged 5.9 yards per carry with eight touchdowns. Mississippi State was average at stopping the run, ranking 57th in the FBS. On offense, Stevens struggled to find consistency with the passing game this season, throwing for just 934 yards in eight games. Hill will most likely be the featured weapon and is just 45 yards away from setting the single-season rushing record, held by Anthony Dixon. I like Louisville’s ability to make plays on the outside and I think Stevens will struggle in his return to the starting role. Follow the line move and take the points.
PICK: Louisville +4.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith