First Responder Bowl 2021: Louisville vs. Air Force

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BetMGM Staff @BETMGM Dec 20, 2021, 10:52 PM

The Louisville Cardinals will take on the Air Force Falcons in the First Responder Bowl in a game between two teams that love to run the ball.

Lousiville’s best hope is to win the game with their electric quarterback. According to the latest college football odds, Louisville is a 1.5-point favorite.

I’ll look at this matchup in the article below to see which team might come out on top.

2021 First Responder Bowl: Louisville vs. Air Force

Before we get started on bets for this game, here are the details you need to know:

  • Date: Tuesday, December 28, 2021
  • Time: 3:15 PM EST
  • Venue: Gerald J Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas

Louisville Has a Big-time Playmaker at QB

Louisville has the 20th-best running game in the FBS in terms of yards per game. The Cardinals average 211.3 yards per game on the ground.

Quarterback Malik Cunningham leads the Cardinals’ rushing attack. Cunningham has the most rushing attempts and most rushing yards on the roster. The Cardinals’ quarterback can throw, too: He’s accounted for 18 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing touchdowns.

The Air Force defense will have its hands full trying to deal with this dynamic junior QB.

Air Force Dominates With Its Defense and Run Game

The Air Force defense may be up to the challenge.

The Falcons rank 13th in the FBS in terms of points allowed per game, giving up 19.1 points per contest. However, the Air Force defense benefits significantly from an Air Force offense, which ranks 1st in rushing yards per game. This rushing attack helps the Falcons control the clock and limits the number of plays opponents can run.

Can Louisville Stop the Falcons?

The Cardinals have a potent offense, but that offense may not get many chances to see the field. Louisville’s defense ranks 87th in FBS in terms of yards allowed per game, surrendering just over 400 yards of offense per contest.

So Louisville might not have to worry about Air Force passing much, but the Falcons should be able to move the ball against the Cardinals via the run game. Louisville is giving up 156.7 yards per game on the ground and will now go against a team averaging 340 rushing yards per game. The next-closest team averages fewer than 300 rushing yards per contest.

Louisville’s Offense May Not Get Many Chances

All signs point to Air Force running the ball at will against a porous Cardinals defense. However, if Louisville is to have a chance in this game, it will require a herculean effort on the part of Cunningham.

Unfortunately for Cunningham and the Cardinals, the Air Force defense allows fewer than 20 points per game this year. Air Force also has a turnover margin of +6, in part because they’ve only given away the ball nine times this season. As a result, I don’t think the Cardinals will have enough offensive possessions to keep up with the Falcon’s rushing offense.

Predicting the Outcome of the First Responder Bowl

The big question in the First Responder Bowl is: Which team will control the game’s pace? I believe that Air Force will win this game because of their impressive rushing attack.

Are you interested in betting on this game? Then, sign up for an account with BetMGM’s Colorado sports betting site to place your bets on this game and all the other bowl games this season.

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Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.