Missouri vs. Ohio State Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for Cotton Bowl

College football betting preview, prediction and best bets for the 2023 Cotton Bowl between Missouri and Ohio State.

Nov 24, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) passes the
Nov 24, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) passes the / Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most intriguing betting markets to follow in the lead up to bowl season has been the Cotton Bowl spread between upstart Missouri against usual College Football Playoff contender Ohio State.

The Buckeyes, who fell way short of its expectations of making the CFP, will play Missouri in the Cotton Bowl, who enjoyed one of the best seasons in recent memory. The motivation mismatch is apparent given the opt outs on the Ohio State side ahead of this one. A spread that opened near a touchdown has flipped all the way towards Missouri as a small favorite.

Is the line move justified? When is it time to step in on the Buckeyes, if ever? We got you covered with our Cotton Bowl betting preview!

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Missouri vs. Ohio State Odds, Spread and Total

Ohio State vs. Missouri Betting Trends

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Missouri vs. Ohio State How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, Dec. 29
  • Game Time: 8:00 PM EST
  • Venue: AT&T Stadium
  • How to Watch (TV): ESPN
  • Missouri Record: 10-2
  • Ohio State Record: 11-1

Missouri vs. Ohio State Key Players to Watch


Brady Cook: One of the most improved players in all of college football this season is Cook, who helped lead the Tigers to an elite offensive output in 2023. Missouri is 10th in the country in EPA/Play, behind the 10th best passing game in terms of EPA/Pass. Overall, Cook passed for 3,189 yards with 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions.

Ohio State

Devin Brown: Brown competed with Kyle McCord into the regular season, but ultimately was QB2 for the entire season. However, with McCord in the transfer portal, the opportunity is there for Brown to impress. More mobile than McCord, Brown will look to give a roster that's full of backups now after the opt outs some life with his legs.

Missouri vs. Ohio State Prediction and Pick

There is a laundry list of opt outs on the Ohio State sideline, generating this massive line shift.

The Buckeyes will be without McCord, possibly its starting running back TreVeyon Henderson and definitely its two backups Miyan Williams and Chip Trayanum, potentially future top five pick in the NFL Draft and Heisman Trophy finalist Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming on offense. While Emeka Egbuka stated he'd play, this is a patchwork Ohio State offense.

On defense, the Buckeyes should be closer to full strength with a handful of backups opting out of the game, but given the early opt out news there could be more on the way. Make sure to monitor the OSU news ahead of this game.

Given all the question marks, it's tough to peg what version of the Buckeyes we will see, and if this number has shifted far enough in favor of Missouri, who should have all members of its top 10 offense on hand, including Luther Burden III, who had 83 catches for 1,197 and eight receiving touchdowns this season.

Ohio State may have high profile players (if some of those even play), but that won't manifest on the field in this bowl game against a Missouri team that had a banner season, winning 10 games and competitive in the SEC all season long.

With the Tigers ability to stretch the field in the passing game as well as feed the ball to talented running back Cody Schrader (1,489 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns), I believe we see a maximum effort and comfortable win as Ohio State heads into this one with plenty of opt outs and little to play for after missing out on the CFP.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Track Reed's bets here!