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Cotton Bowl Betting History

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is a yearly college football bowl game, often referred to as the Cotton Bowl because we’ve gotten lazy as a society and saying extra words is just too much. The Cotton Bowl is played on January 1 or 2 every year with the exception of 1966, 2011-2014, 2015 and 2017.

For a more detailed look at this year's Cotton Bowl, check out out our expert betting preview and Cotton Bowl Game Center.

Betting History of the Cotton Bowl

The inaugural Cotton Bowl was played at the Texas State Fair Grounds in Texas (duh!) on January 1, 1937, between TCU and Marquette. The Cotton Bowl was the brainchild of J. Curtis Sanford, a Dallas oilman – not to be confused with former NHL goalie Curtis Sanford, who made a nice living playing hockey but nowhere near as nice as it would’ve been if he were an oilman. Anyway, Sanford attended the 1936 Rose Bowl featuring SMU and Stanford and decided his city should have a game like that. The oilman paid for the Cotton Bowl out of his own pocket, probably with pocket change since oilmen make major bank, and the Horned Frogs beat the Golden Avalanche 16-6. Prior to 1960, the Marquette football department was once called the Golden Avalanche. Now they’re the Golden Eagles. The more you know, the more you grow. Or something of the like.

The game moved from the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas to AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, starting in 2010. In 1941, the Cotton Bowl began an affiliation to take the champion of the Southwest Conference. However, the Big 12 was affiliated with the Cotton Bowl from 1997 to 2013.

Once the College Football Playoff was created for the 2014 season, the Cotton Bowl became part of the New Year’s Six family of bowls. The Cotton Bowl Classic hosted a semifinal between Alabama and Michigan State following the 2015 season, which ended in a blowout of 38-0 for the Crimson Tide.

Many of the memorable Cotton Bowls featured Notre Dame. In the game on January 1, 1970, No. 1 Texas beat the No. 9 Irish. The Fighting Irish lost to the Longhorns even though they were quarterbacked by Joe Theismann, who went on to play in the NFL and CFL, and own Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar, a restaurant and bar.

In 1978, a fifth-ranked Irish team, this time quarterbacked by another 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 steakhouse or the state – was truly born. Montana led the Irish back from a 34-12 fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Longhorns 35-34.

Besides Montana, Theismann 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 Layne and Ricky Williams, SMU’s Doak Walker, TCU’s Sammy Baugh, Navy’s Roger Staubach, Auburn’s Bo Jackson – FYI, Bo knows everything – UCLA’s Troy Aikman, SMU’s Eric Dickerson, USC’s Keyshawn Johnson and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.

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

Last year’s 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.

2018 Cotton Bowl

On December 29, 2018, the No 2-ranked Clemson Tigers (13-0) will face off against the No. 3-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0). This year’s Cotton Bowl is a playoff semifinal game with the winner moving on to face the winner of the Orange Bowl in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Notre Dame by the Numbers
  • Conference: Independent
  • ATS: 6-5-1
  • ATS Home 4-3
  • ATS Away: 2-2-1
  • O/U: 6-6
  • O/U Home: 2-5
  • O/U Away: 4-1
Clemson By the Numbers
  • Conference: ACC
  • ATS: 7-6
  • ATS Home: 2-5
  • ATS Away: 5-1
  • O/U: 6-6
  • O/U Home: 2-4
  • O/U Away: 4-2

How to Bet on the Cotton Bowl

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time bettor, the Cotton Bowl gives you the opportunity to extend the college football betting season.

These are the types of bets we recommend making on the Cotton Bowl:

  • Placing a moneyline bet on the Cotton Bowl is easy, all you have to do is pick the team you think is going to win
  • 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

Where to Bet on the Cotton Bowl

Your first step to betting on the Cotton Bowl is to check out our college football coverage. We have odds, free picks, betting news, trends and more – basically everything you need to make an educated bet on the Cotton Bowl. Next, take a look at our top sportsbooks for betting on college football.

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 Cotton Bowl 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. No, really, the final score was 0-0.
  • Texas has the most Cotton Bowl appearances with 22 (11-10-1). Baylor only has three appearances and lost each one to go 0-3.

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 ClasicMichigan 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