We’ve got a very intriguing matchup in college football on December 29th, giving us an awesome Friday night game to wager on. The line movement tells a long story about this game, but I’m still comfortable getting in on a side in this one at a worse number given the information we now have. Let’s breakdown the Cotton Bowl and give out a play on a side on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Missouri vs. Ohio State (December 29, 8:00 pm ET)
In Pocket: Missouri +3 (-115) 2-units, Missouri +2.5 (-110) 1-unit
Still Playable: Missouri ML (-112)
I put out Mizzou at +3 the day after Bowl lines opened, and then added the next day at +2.5. While I have solid numbers on the game as I write this article on December 20, I still missed a +6.5 opener on the game that would really be nice to have. So why the big move on this game?
For starters, the Tigers got as high as -2.5 favorites before falling back to around a pick’em. That’s what has me writing the article now with a price of a pick still being very fair to back Mizzou in my mind.
Motivation and opt outs are obviously the key here, so let’s review those aspects of the Cotton Bowl. There were some immediate opt outs on the Ohio State side that sent this game on the move, most notably starting QB Kyle McCord — who will play at Syracuse next year. Sophomore QB Devin Brown will make the start for the Buckeyes, who will also be without RB Chip Trayanum and WR Julian Fleming. OSU will also be missing some key pieces on defense, particularly on the line.
While the recent move back from OSU being an underdog to a pick’em would indicate that Marvin Harrison Jr. and TreVeyon Henderson likely suit up, we still do not know that for sure. Make no doubt about it, even without key pieces, this is still and Ohio State team that’s backups would start almost anywhere in the country.
But missing just a few key pieces will certainly hurt the Buckeyes in a matchup against Mizzou. The Tigers will be suiting everyone up for this game, and have made it clear they have a ton of motivation to beat a national powerhouse in a primetime Bowl.
The Tigers should not be considered too far below a team like OSU to begin with, even when healthy. Keep in mind how terrific Brady Cook was this season, and Luther Burden III (83-1197-8) should be a big problem at WR for Ohio State to defend. Cody Schrader (247-1489-13) had an absolutely ridiculous season on the ground, finishing top-10 in the Heisman voting.
All that said, and this Mizzou squad might even be better on defense, which could lead for problems with OSU playing a backup signal caller in this game. Missouri played Georgia really tough on the road this season, proving they can hang in a game with anyone.
Given the high motivation for the Tigers in this game, and just enough missing talent for the Buckeyes, I think Mizzou is the right side on the moneyline.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.