The Southeastern Conference has been beating up on the Big 12 in the Cotton Bowl as of late, winning nine of the last 10 Cotton Bowl matchups outright and going 8-1-1 against the spread.
For this year's edition, the Missouri Tigers, former members of the Big 12 who are representing their new conference, renew acquaintances with the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 78th Cotton Bowl, Jan. 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Both teams have been hot at the betting window and the point spread was very close in early betting.
Cotton Bowl point spread: Missouri opened as 1.5-point favorites; the total was 60. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 36.3-33.3 Cowboys
Why the Cowboys can cover the Cotton Bowl spread
Oklahoma State came within one late Oklahoma touchdown of winning the Big 12 championship for the second time in the last three seasons. The Cowboys lost an early-season game at West Virginia and didn't lose again until Bedlam in the final week.
Along the way they beat five teams who made bowls and handed eventual Big 12 champion Baylor its only defeat of the season. Playing through a change at quarterback, OSU has averaged 269 yards per game through the air, 172 yards per game on the ground and the Cowboys' defense ranks 47th overall in FBS and 14th in scoring, allowing just 20 points per game.
Why the Tigers can cover the Cotton Bowl spread
A season after having a seven-year bowl streak snapped, Missouri almost made a run to the national championship game. And in their second year in the SEC, they won the East Division, earning a berth in the conference championship game.
The Tigers started 7-0, reaching No. 5 in the BCS standings, before suffering their first loss of the season, coughing up a 17-0 lead and losing on a missed field goal in overtime to South Carolina. Mizzou then won four in a row to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game, where it lost to Auburn.
The Tigers also weathered a change in quarterback, as James Franklin got hurt, missed a month, then returned for the last three games. Missouri ranks 16th in the country in total offense, averaging 257 yards per game passing, 237 yards rushing. Meanwhile, the defense fashioned a late-season streak of six straight games in which it allowed 21 points or less (in regulation).
They also boast an 11-2 ATS record in 2013 and can extend that streak with a win here.
This game has the potential to be a dandy, matching two high-powered offenses and former conference rivals, at what should be a raucous environment in Arlington. However, the Cotton Bowl betting history is full of UNDER plays, with nine of the past 12 editions of this game rewarding UNDER bettors.
Missouri owns the edge on offense, while Oklahoma State has the edge on defense. The Tigers were slightly fortunate to win the SEC East, considering the injury troubles that plagued some of the other contenders in that division.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, should have won the Big 12, if not for a late Oklahoma drive aided by a questionable pass interference call. Also, this OSU senior class is already 3-0 in bowls. In a game that's basically a coin toss, take the Cowboys.
- UNDER is 9-3 past 12 Cotton Bowls
- Oklahoma State has won and covered three straight bowl games
- Missouri is 11-2 ATS past 13 games overall
- Cowboys are 6-1 ATS past seven games, but blew chance vs. Sooners in final game
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