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Cotton Bowl Odds and Betting History

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is a yearly college football game, often referred to as simply, the Cotton Bowl because we’ve gotten lazy as a society and saying extra words is often too taxing.

Odds Shark is here to ensure you have everything you need to bet on this bowl game from Cotton Bowl odds to handicapping info and historical wagering data so you can make smart picks.

Betting History of the Cotton Bowl

The inaugural Cotton Bowl was played at the Texas State Fair Grounds in Texas (duh!) on January 1st, 1937, between TCU and Marquette. This bowl was the brainchild of J. Curtis Sanford, a Dallas oilman – not to be confused with former NHL goalie Curtis Sandman, who made a nice living playing hockey but nowhere near as nice as it would’ve been if he worked for Big Oil.

The oilman attended the 1936 Rose Bowl featuring SMU and Stanford and decided his city should have a game like that. He paid for bowl out of his own pocket, probably with the change he found in his sofa since oil barons make major bank. The Horned Frogs beat the Golden Avalanche 16-6. After 1960, the Marquette football department changed its name to the Golden Eagles, perhaps because birds are more intimidating than weather phenomena.

In 2010, the game moved from Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas to AT&T Stadium in Arlington – where the Cowboys play! In 1941, the bowl began an affiliation to take the champion of the Southwest Conference (SWC). The Big 12 had a brief stint as an affiliate from 1997-2013.

Upon the death of the BCS prior to the 2014 college football season, the Cotton Bowl became a member of the New Year’s Six and hosted a college football playoff semifinal between Alabama and Michigan State following the 2015 season. The game ended in a blowout of 38-0 for the Crimson Tide.

Many of the more memorable Cotton Bowls starred Notre Dame. In the January 1st, 1970 edition, No. 1 Texas beat the No. 9 Irish. Even though they were quarterbacked by Joe Theismann, the Irish lost to the Longhorns. He would be fine and go on to play in the NFL, CFL, and own Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar, a restaurant and bar.

In 1978, a fifth-ranked Irish team, this time helmed by the other famous Joe (Montana), routed No. 1 Texas and Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell 38-10, giving Notre Dame a national title. The next year, the legend of Montana – not the state – was truly born. Joe led the team back from a 34-12 fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Longhorns 35-34.

Besides the Joes and Campbell, some of the titans of college football have played in the Cotton Bowl over the years. The list includes Syracuse’s Jim Brown and Ernie Davis, Texas’ Bobby Lane and Ricky Williams, SMU’s Doak Walker, TCU’s Sammy Baugh, Navy’s Roger Staubach, Auburn’s Bo Jackson, UCLA’s Troy Aikman, SMU’s Eric Dickerson, USC’s Keyshawn Johnson, and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger was never on a bowl roster, but he did get a movie made about him so that’s cool.

The favorite covered in five of the seven Cotton Bowls from 2010-2016. Alabama’s 10.5-point spread over Michigan State in the December 31st games of 2015 is tied for the largest number this century.

The 2017 Cotton Bowl saw the USC Trojans taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both teams posted losing ATS records during the regular season. Ohio State trampled USC 24-7 with J.T. Barrett rushing for 66 yards with 16 carries and two touchdowns. Totals bettors who took the UNDER cleaned up. The total was set at 65.0 and the combined score for both teams didn’t even come close to the number predicted by oddsmakers. The scoring deficit of 17 did not bode well for spread bettors who put money on USC.

Last year saw the No.2-ranked Clemson Tigers (13-0) face off against the No.3-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0). This particular Cotton Bowl was a playoff semifinal matchup with the victor moving on to face the winner of the Orange Bowl in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Clemson held ND to only three points covering the 10.5 spread with ease. Bettors who had the UNDER saw themselves with a winning ticket as the combined score was only 33, 25 points less than the predicted total of 58.

2019 Cotton Bowl Odds

As soon as oddsmakers announce the lines, we’ll update this page with handicapping data and analysis of each team.

How to Bet on the Cotton Bowl

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time bettor, you have the opportunity to make some cash betting college bowl odds. These are the bets we recommend making:

• A moneyline bet requires you to pick a winner 

• An OVER/UNDER or totals bet involves wagering on the total combined score from both teams and deciding if it will be OVER or UNDER a certain amount

Point spread betting is a wager placed on whether the favorite or the underdog will win or lose by a set number of points

Props are bets made on individual players (how many rushing yards will a certain player have, how many sacks will another player have, etc.), and things like which team will win the coin toss

Parlays give you the chance to bundle two or more bets on one betting slip

Cotton Bowl Bites

• The Cotton Bowl has seen appearances by top-rated coaches Bear Bryant (Kentucky), Darrell Royal (Texas), and Ara Parseghian (Notre Dame).

• The 1947 iteration was referred to as the Ice Bowl since it was very cold that day and neither LSU nor Arkansas was able to put up any points. The final score was 0-0. Sorry to anyone who bet on that game.

• Texas has the most appearances with 22 (11-10-1). Baylor has only three appearances and lost each one (0-3). Way harsh.

For updated lines and great props for all bowl games, head over to Bovada today.

Cotton Bowl History
YearBowlTeamScoreTeamScoreSpreadATS WinnerSU Winner
1995Cotton BowlOregon6Colorado38-7COLOCOLO
1996Cotton BowlKansas State15BYU19+3BYUBYU
1997Cotton BowlUCLA29Texas A&M23+12TEXA&MUCLA
1998Cotton BowlMississippi State11Texas38-6.5TEXASTEXAS
1999Cotton BowlTexas6Arkansas27+5.5ARKARK
2000Cotton BowlTennessee21Kansas State35-3.5KAN.STKAN.ST
2001Cotton BowlOklahoma10Arkansas3+12ARKOKLA
2002Cotton BowlLSU20Texas35-10.5TEXASTEXAS
2003Cotton BowlMississippi31Oklahoma State28+3PushMISS
2004Cotton BowlTennessee38Texas A&M7-5TENNTENN
2005Cotton BowlAlabama13Texas Tech10-3ALABALAB
2006Cotton BowlNebraska14Auburn17-2.5AUBRNAUBRN
2007Cotton BowlArkansas7Missouri38-3.5MIZZOUMIZZOU
2008Cotton BowlMississippi47Texas Tech34-4MISSMISS
2009Cotton BowlMississippi21Oklahoma State7+3.5MISSMISS
2010Cotton BowlTexas A&M24LSU41-1.5LSULSU
2011Cotton BowlKansas State16Arkansas29-9.5ARKARK
2012Cotton BowlTexas A&M41Oklahoma13+3TEXA&MTEXA&M
2013Cotton BowlMissouri41Oklahoma State31-3MIZZOUMIZZOU
2014Cotton Bowl Michigan State42Baylor41-3Michigan StateMichigan State
2015Cotton BowlMichigan State0Alabama38-10.5AlabamaAlabama
2016Cotton BowlWestern Michigan16Wisconsin24-8PUSHWisconsin
2017Cotton BowlUSC7Ohio State24-9.5Ohio StateOhio State
2018Cotton BowlNotre Dame3Clemson30-10.5ClemsonClemson
2019Cotton Bowl