Cotton Bowl Spread: 2017 College Football Bowl Odds, Prediction

Payton Matthews | Updated Dec 29, 2017

sam darnold

The national semifinal games obviously stand apart from any other bowl, but easily the best matchup outside those two is Friday night’s Cotton Bowl between No. 8 USC and No. 5 Ohio State.

December 29, 2017, 8:30 PM ET
AT&T Stadium
Ohio State
Pointspread +10 -110
Moneyline +325
Over / Under o +65


Betting Action


Pointspread -10 -110
Moneyline -425
Over / Under u +65


Betting Action


The Cotton Bowl is the first of the New Year’s Six bowls to be played this year, followed by the Fiesta and Orange Bowls on Saturday, then the Peach, Rose and Sugar on Monday. To be clear, the Cotton Bowl isn’t actually played at the historic Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas; it used to be but was moved to the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium outside Dallas in 2010. The Texas Bowl is now held at the actual Cotton Bowl – Texas beat Missouri in that Wednesday night.

USC vs. Ohio State Odds and Betting Analysis

Ohio State is one of just three teams to ever play in the Cotton Bowl – it did back on New Year’s Day in 1987. USC’s lone trip was on Jan. 2, 1995, when it scored a bowl record 55 points in a 41-point victory over Texas Tech.

Southern Cal was the Pac-12 champion and Ohio State the Big Ten champion. Normally, the winners of those leagues would face off in the Rose Bowl, but that is one of the national semifinals this season. It’s the first meeting between the Trojans and Buckeyes since early in the 2009 season. USC has won the past seven overall vs. OSU dating to the New Year’s Day 1975 in the Rose Bowl.

USC and Ohio State had no common opponents this season.

Southern California Trojans

The No. 8 Trojans (11-2 SU, 3-9-1 ATS) were ranked as high as No. 5 this season and suffered losses at Washington State and at Notre Dame, both ranked in the Top 16 at the time. USC ended the regular season with four straight wins and then knocked off Stanford 31-28 in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the school’s first conference title in nine years. USC quarterback Sam Darnold was the Heisman Trophy favourite entering the season. He started a bit sluggish and his 12 interceptions were too many, but Darnold threw for 3,787 yards and 26 touchdowns. Many believe he could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if he declares as expected. Ronald Jones is one of the country’s best tailbacks as he rushed for 1,486 yard and 18 scores. USC is 1-4 ATS in its past five bowl games.

Ohio State Buckeyes

How much motivation will the No. 5 Buckeyes (11-2, 6-7 ATS) have here? After they beat unbeaten Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, Coach Urban Meyer thought his team would earn a spot in the national semifinals. Instead, that went to Alabama, which didn’t even win its own division in the SEC. Then again, last year Ohio State got a spot in the College Football Playoff even though it didn’t win its own Big Ten East Division and lost to conference champion Penn State. The Cotton Bowl has the best individual quarterback matchup by far of any bowl with Darnold and Buckeyes senior J.T. Barrett, who holds numerous school and Big Ten records, including most touchdowns responsible for. Barrett is the only three-time captain in Ohio State football history and is from Texas. OSU is 6-1 ATS in its past seven neutral-site games.

Cotton Bowl Prediction