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NCAA Football Betting – Cotton Bowl Arkansas at Missouri
Jan. 1 — Cotton Bowl Preview at Dallas, Missouri (11-2) vs. Arkansas (8-4), 11:30 a.m. (FOX)
LAST POINTSPREAD RESULT: Arkansas pulled a 50-48 overtime upset over LSU on November 23, covering as a 13.5-point underdog. Missouri played in the Big 12 title game on December 1, losing 38-17 to Oklahoma as a three-point underdog.
LAST MEETING: These teams last played in the Independence Bowl in 2003, with Arkansas scoring a 27-14 victory as a three-point favorite.
The Good News — Quite simply, this is the most explosive and dangerous backfield in the country. There is the two-time Heisman runner-up, Darren McFadden (1725 yards, 5.7 ypc) who also threw four TD passes, and Felix Jones, who rushed for 1117 yards and also averaged 9.1 yards a pop. Also, wide receiver Marcus Monk, who helps with balance in the air attack, is healthier now after his knee injury.
The Bad News — QB Casey Dick is not explosive and is in fact often unsteady. He completed 57% of his passes. Houston Nutt was able to compile a game plan that was able to diversify the Arkansas attack despite that, by using McFadden in direct snaps from center. But Nutt has been let go, and Bobby Petrino came into the picture amidst much confusion. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring will take the reins on an interim basis for this game, but the Arkansas staff doesn’t has much idea of its fate.
The Good News — Quarterback Chase Daniel was a Heisman contender, and deservedly so. Daniel completed 70% of his passes for 4170 yards, 33 TD’s and only 10 interceptions. He is a master improviser. Freshman Jeremy Maclin is a future Heisman candidate and possibly the most dangerous player on the field. He scored 16 TD’s, caught 77 passes, runs out of the backfield, and returns kicks. Missouri has a +13 turnover ratio on the season.
The Bad News — Missouri is let down after reaching the Big 12 title game, hanging the only loss on Kansas’ record and being left out of the BCS picture. Sometimes that has an effect on a team when it comes time to prepare for the bowl. The Tigers’ secondary was vulnerable, giving up 263 passing yards per game.
Here are some college football betting TRENDS relative to this matchup:
* ARK has won and covered five of its last six games
* ARK has played four OVERS in its last five games
* MIZZ has covered six of its last nine games
* MIZZ has covered 11 of its last 14 games
* MIZZ has played four of its last six games OVER the total
THE BOTTOM LINE: Certainly Arkansas is a lot more one-dimensional than it would like to be, but the McFadden-Jones combo is hard to stop even if the opposition knows either of them are getting the ball. The fact, however, is that Casey Dick is limited, enabling Missouri, which gave up just 3.6 yards a carry. That might help them slow Arkansas down enough to get the one more stop required. The Tigers will undoubtedly move the chains – they converted on 53% of third downs, and aside from Maclin, there is William Franklin (44 catches) and the top tight end combo of Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, both of whom will be playing on Sundays. A big boost is that running back Tony Temple is healthy. In a game where firepower will dominate, Mizzou has a little more of it. And we’re not all that crazy about Arkansas’ coaching situation right now.
Cotton Bowl Free Pick:
As long as Gary Pinkel has this team sufficiently focused, we like MISSOURI, the three-point favorite in the Top Sportsbooks college football betting odds.
WHAT: Cotton Bowl
WHO: Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Missouri Tigers (11-2 SU, 9-3 ATS)
WHEN & WHERE: January 1, 11:30 AM at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas (grass)
BETUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING LINE: MISSOURI -3, Total: 69
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