In the early stages of college football bowl season, it’s easy to avoid wagering on games, simply because you don’t really know that much about the teams taking part. Once Christmas Day passes, there are no more excuses, as the bowl games that come after that point tend to be match-ups between some of the more iconic teams in the college game. This is the stage of the season where bettors once again get interested in the games on the schedule, and it can be argued that the Cotton Bowl may offer the best match-up outside of the playoffs. What we are getting is a game between a pair of teams that were among the favorites to win a National Championship prior to the start of the year, and while the USC Trojans and the Ohio State Buckeyes fell a little way short of their season goals, this is still a game that begs to be watched and wagered on. So let’s start with the betting preview for this high voltage game.

Texas Bowl: Texas Longhorns vs Missouri Tigers Preview & Betting Odds

Cotton Bowl Game Betting Preview: USC Trojans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

When: Friday, December 29 at 8:30 PM EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Ohio State -7½

Why bet on the USC Trojans (11-2, 8-1 in Pac-12)

There are some schools that you expect to be in the playoff picture every single year, and while the USC Trojans used to be part of that group. NCAA sanctions saw them drop dramatically in recent years. They have slowly pulled their way back from those restrictions, to the point where they came into the season as one of the favorites to win a National Championship. QB Sam Darnold has proven that he is among the best in the nation at the QB position, but this will be his last hurrah before he heads off to the NFL, and you feel that he will want to go out on a high note. A couple of tough losses hurt this team, but they finished the season strong, winning their final 5 games, which included their Conference Championship Game. USC struggled ATS, going 4-9, and they went 7-6 O/U.

USC Trojans NCAA Football 2017

Why bet on the Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2, 8-1 in Big Ten)

The Ohio State Buckeyes ended the season with an 11-2 record and the Big 10 Championship in their back pocket, leading some to believe that they may have done enough to earn the #4 seed in the playoffs, but it was the nature of those 2 losses that came back to haunt them. In particular, giving up 55 points in a stunning loss to Iowa State may have been the final nail in their coffin. This team does deserve credit for the manner in which they closed out their regular season, though, winning their final 4 games and surrendering just a little over 14 PPG in those wins. The one thing to watch out for here is how that defense goes against Darnold, as both losses the Buckeyes took this season came against QB’s known for their accuracy. The Buckeyes went 6-7 ATS and 9-4 O/U in the regular season.

Ohio State Buckeyes NCAA Football 2017

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

While Darnold may be looking to go out big, he may also have one eye on the draft, which may make him a little tentative. I like the Buckeyes to roll to a win, covering in the process. I also like the OVER in this one.

Predicted Score: USC Trojans 27 Ohio State Buckeyes 40