Bettors Beware: Avoid Betting on these College Football Bowl Games

Bettors Beware: Avoid Betting on these College Football Bowl Games
© USA Today

If you want to bet on college football bowl games this season, there are plenty of opportunities among the 42 games. 

But not every game is worthy of risking your money. With transfers, injuries and opt-outs, many of the rosters will look vastly different than in the regular season. Here are some of the matchups we would be wary of betting on. 

Fenway Bowl

Louisville vs. Cincinnati

Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m. ET

Louisville -1 | Total 40 at DraftKings Sportsbook

The strangest thing about this game is that Louisville’s coach throughout the season, Scott Satterfield, will be Cincinnati's coach next year after Luke Fickell took the job at Wisconsin. He’ll watch his old team take on his future team. It’s worth wondering whom he’d be cheering for. 

In addition to the coaching change, the circus at quarterback for both teams is enough to warrant skipping this game. 

Cincinnati starter Ben Bryant has been ruled out with a foot injury, giving backup Evan Prater the start. Prater was not great in the 27-24 loss to Tulane, completing 10 of 26 passes for 102 yards and an interception. The Bearcats also will miss out on five of their top six pass catchers, with wide receiver Tre Tucker and tight ends Josh Whyle and Leonard Taylor sitting out and declaring for the NFL Draft, while receivers Nick Mardner and Jadon Thompson entered the transfer portal. 

Louisville’s quarterback situation also is far from ideal. Malik Cunningham injured his shoulder in the regular-season finale against Kentucky and opted out of the bowl game. That leaves Brock Domann to start. Domann has not thrown for more than 200 yards in the last three games when he had at least 21 pass attempts. He has thrown for 866 yards this year in relief, completing just 53% of his passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

You don’t need to risk your money and stress over bad quarterback play. You deserve better.

If you decide to bet on the Fenway Bowl, here is how mobile sports betting apps have it. 

OperatorMoneylinePoint SpreadOver/Under
CaesarsLouisville -125; Cincinnati +105Louisville -2; Cincinnati +240
BetMGMLouisville -120; Cincinnati +100Louisville -1.5; Cincinnati +1.539.5
DraftKingsLouisville -120; Cincinnati +100Louisville -1; Cincinnati +140
FanDuelLouisville -122; Cincinnati +102Louisville -1.5; Cincinnati +1.539.5
BetRiversLouisville -125; Cincinnati +104Louisville -2; Cincinnati +240
UnibetLouisville -127; Cincinnati +102Louisville -2, Cincinnati +240
SuperbookLouisville -130; Cincinnati +110Louisville -2; Cincinnati +240
bet365Louisville -125; Cincinnati +105Louisville -2; Cincinnati +240
PointsBetLouisville -125; Cincinnati +105Louisville -2; Cincinnati +240
BetwayLouisville -120; Cincinnati +100Louisville -1; Cincinnati +140

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma State

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 9:15 p.m.

Wisconsin -3 | Total 43.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook

It was a mass exodus for Wisconsin after Paul Chryst was fired during the regular season and the school went with Luke Fickell as its next coach. At least 19 players are expected to miss the bowl game because of transfers, opt-outs or injuries. 

The biggest loss is quarterback Graham Hertz, who transferred to Kentucky to take over for Will Levis. That leaves either Myles Burkett or Chase Wolf to start. Wisconsin could go with Wolf, the senior, and give him one final start, or see what it has in the future with Burkett. 

Neither has had much experience this season. Wolf completed 2 of 6 passes for 21 yards, while Burkett was 4 for 5 for 84 yards.

Wisconsin will also run out a makeshift offensive line for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. Center Joe Tippman was a longtime starter and has opted out, and guards Michael Furtney and Tyler Beach were part-time starters who also will not play. 

Defensively, nose tackle Keeanu Benton is opting out. The Badgers also have just one remaining starter available at cornerback. 

Oklahoma State’s offense will be missing key pieces as well. Quarterback Spencer Sanders entered the transfer portal, leaving Gunnar Gundy or Garret Rangel to start at quarterback. Neither has been good. The two combined to complete 52% of their passes and throw just five touchdowns to seven interceptions. Neither Rangel nor Gundy provides the running threat Sanders did; he finished as the team’s second-leading rusher. Dominic Richardson, the team’s top rusher on the season, entered the transfer portal and also will not play. 

If you decide to bet the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, check these apps for the best sports betting bonus codes.

Operator Moneyline Point Spread Over/Under
Caesars UW -154; OSU +130 UW -3.0 -110; OSU +3.0 -110 O 43.0 -110; U 43.0 -110
BetMGM UW -150; OSU +125 UW -3.0 -110; OSU +3.0 -110 O 43.0 -110; U 43.0 -110
DraftKings UW -145; OSU +25 UW -3.0 -105; OSU +3.0 -115 O 43.0 -110; U 43.0 -110
FanDuel UW -150; OSU +125 UW -3.0 -105; OSU +3.0 -115 O 43.5 -106; U 43.5 -114
BetRivers UW -148; OSU +117 UW -3.0 -110; OSU +3.0 -113 O 43.5 -108; U 43.5 -113
Unibet UW -148; OSU +117 UW -3.0 -109; OSU +3.0 -114 O 43.5 -109; U 43.5 -113
Superbook UW -150; OSU +130 UW -3 -110; OSU +3 -110 O 43 -110; U 43 -110
bet365 UW -150; OSU +130 UW -3.0 -110; OSU +3.0 -110 O 43.0 -110; U 43.0 -110
PointsBet UW -155; OSU +130 UW -3.0 -110; OSU +3.0 -110 O 43.0 -110; U 43.0 -110
Betway UW -145; OSU +125 UW -3 -105; OSU +3 -115 O 43 -110; U 43 -110

ReliaQuest Bowl

Illinois vs. Mississippi State

Monday, Jan. 2, noon ET

Illinois -2.5 | Total 46.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook

It’s difficult to imagine what the Mississippi State program is going through after the death of head coach Mike Leach. No one would blame them if the team was too distraught to play, but the group has decided to honor him by competing. It’s an admirable decision. But it’s hard to back the team in this game given all the uncertainty it faces. 

Illinois also has numerous players reportedly considering opting out, and coach Bret Bielema is attempting to persuade some of them to play. 

But would you really want to bet on Illinois even if there weren’t roster concerns? I’m not sure anyone could feel good about betting on the Illini and cheering against Mississippi State anyway. Just seems like a jerk move. 

Don’t bet on this game. Cheer for Mississippi State and hope the team can end the season on a positive note. 

If you decide to bet on the ReliaQuest Bowl, find the best odds with these mobile sportsbook apps

Operator Moneyline Point Spread Over/Under
Caesars Illinois -135; MSU +115 Illinois -2, MSU +2 46
BetMGM Illinois -130; MSU +110 Illinois -2; MSU +2 46
DraftKings Illinois -130; MSU +105 Illinois -2; MSU +2 46
FanDuel Illinois -125; MSU +104 Illinois -2.5; MSU +2.5 46.5
BetRivers Illinois -125; MSU +102 Illinois -2; MSU +2 46.5
Unibet Illinois -125; MSU +102 Illinois -2; MSU +2 46.5
Superbook Illinois -125; MSU +105 Illinois -1.5; MSU +105 46
bet365 Illinois -130; MSU +110 Illinois -2; MSU +2 46
PointsBet Illinois -125; MSU +105 Illinois -2; MSU +2 46
Betway Illinois -130; MSU +110 Illinois -2; MSU +2 46

Cotton Bowl 

USC vs. Tulane

Monday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m. ET

USC -1.5 | Total 61.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook

There’s a strong possibility Heisman winner Caleb Williams sits out this game. Williams suffered a hamstring injury in the Pac-12 title game loss to Utah. Even if he were healthy enough to play, the Cotton Bowl against Tulane isn’t enough of a reason to return and risk reinjury. 

The Trojans will also likely be without two starting offensive linemen in center Brett Neillon and guard Andrew Vorhees. Neillon was also injured against Utah, while Vorhees is an NFL prospect and missed that game with an injury, putting his status for the matchup against Tulane in doubt. 

Despite the injuries, backing USC still is risky. Just how motivated will the team be after losing the Pac-12 championship game, missing out on the College Football Playoff and now having to prepare for Tulane? This spot screams of a potential letdown. 

However, backing Tulane isn’t going to make anyone go crazy, either. The Green Wave did beat Big 12 champion Kansas State 17-10 in September, but it will not have faced skill players and an offensive system like USC’s before this season. 

Tulane’s lack of Power 5 competition and USC’s motivation level make this a stay-away. 

On the chance you decide to wager on this game, check out this chart to find the best sports betting bonus codes.

Operator Moneyline Point Spread Over/Under
Caesars USC -145; Tulane +122 USC -2.5; Tulane +2.5 62.5
BetMGM USC -125; Tulane +105 USC -1.5; Tulane +1.5 61.5
DraftKings USC -140; Tulane +110 USC -2.5; Tulane +2.5 62.5
FanDuel USC -132; Tulane +110 USC -2.5; Tulane +2.5 62.5
BetRivers USC -129; Tulane +106 USC -2; Tulane +2 63
Unibet USC -129; Tulane +102 USC -2; Tulane +2 63
Superbook USC -130; Tulane +105 USC -2; Tulane +2 62.5
bet365 USC -135; Tulane +115 USC -2.5; Tulane +2.5 62.5
PointsBet USC -136; Tulane +115 USC -2.5; Tulane +2.5 62.5
Betway USC -135; Tulane +115 USC -2.5; Tulane +2.5 62.5
×