Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Prediction: Talent Exodus in Cincinnati is too much to Overcome

Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1)
Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) / Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats are almost ready to begin their encore from their college football playoff season a year ago. They were the first ever team outside of the Power 5 to make the semifinal and may have subsequently destroyed the Power 5 forever. Now, they are preparing to head for the Big 12 and looking to repeat their success without Desmond Ridder and Sauce Gardner. 

Arkansas is just continuing to build an SEC contender and has starting quarterback KJ Jefferson back on campus. Though Treylon Burks is gone, they should still be heading in the right direction after a 9-4 record last season. 

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Odds, Spread and Total

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Odds, Spread and Total Movement in Week 1

Earlier in the week the Razorbacks were favored by six, but it has now moved to 6.5. If it were to move any further across seven then it would scare me off, but the move from six to 6.5 is less significant.

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Best Bet and Prediction

Earlier in the week I took Arkansas at -6, and I like that number more than the -6.5 you would have to take now. KJ Jefferson being back at quarterback and Desmond Ridder being gone is a huge swing in Arkansas’s direction. 

I worry a lot about Cincinnati’s exodus of talent through the NFL draft with Garnder, Ridder, Alec Pierce, Coby Bryant, and others no longer on the roster. We saw what an SEC team did to Cincinnati with all of those players on the roster, so what will happen now without them?

Luke Fickell has declined to name a starting quarterback for the opener, as it is down to Evan Prater or Ben Bryant. If neither guy impressed enough to flat out win the job, then that should be a big concern. Whoever it is, the O-line in front of him will be solid, but when the most important position on the field is a question mark then I have a hard time trusting your team.

I said this all earlier in the week and I feel even more sure about it now so I am willing to tell you to go in on Arkansas even with a bigger spread. However, beware if that number gets to seven or 7.5 that’s when I would stay away or even consider taking Cincinnati and the points. 

Lean: Arkansas -6.5

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE