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Betting on the 2012 Cotton Bowl

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Jan/05/2012
Betting on the 2012 Cotton Bowl

Betting on the 2012 Cotton Bowl was available at Sportsbook.com, which was offering up to $250 in FREE CASH. 

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Arkansas -8 & 73

Opening Line & Total: Razorbacks -7.5 & 74

Although it’s not a BCS game, the Cotton Bowl features two of the nation’s top-8 teams when Kansas State meets Arkansas on Friday night at Cowboys Stadium.

Both of these 10-win teams are legitimate as KSU’s two losses came to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, while Arkansas was only beaten by LSU and Alabama, the top two teams in the nation. Both of these offenses are extremely efficient, they just get the job done in different ways. The Razorbacks are 13th in passing offense as QB Tyler Wilson averages 285 pass YPG with 22 TD and 6 INT. The Wildcats use the legs of QB Collin Klein, who has 1,099 rushing yards and an insane 26 TD runs. With these teams evenly matched, this game expects to be a lot closer than the point spread would indicate. KSU has thrived in the underdog role this season, going 7-1 ATS and winning six of those games straight up.

KSU has dropped three straight bowl games, with its last victory coming in the 2002 Holiday Bowl. The Wildcats lost last year’s Pinstripe Bowl 36-34 to Syracuse as they failed on a two-point conversion with 1:13 left in the game. But Klein, who had just one carry in that game, is now the focal point of the offense. In addition to his gaudy rushing totals, he is also a capable passer, throwing for 1,745 yards (7.0 YPA), 12 TD and 5 INT. Sophomore RB John Hubert is coming off a huge performance against Iowa State, rushing for 120 yards on just 15 carries with a touchdown. Arkansas ranks 80th in the country in run defense (174 YPG), giving the Wildcats more reason to use a heavy dose of Klein and Hubert.

If they trail big and are forced to throw the football, it will likely be headed towards junior WR Chris Harper. He is the only KSU player with more than 300 receiving yards (39 rec, 536 yds, 5 TD), but he was held without a catch last game against ISU. The Razorbacks defend the pass pretty well (197 YPG, 26th in FBS), and senior safety Tramain Thomas is an excellent ball hawk with five picks this year and 12 career interceptions. The Hogs also have one of the better pass rushers in the land in DE Jake Bequette. His 0.9 sacks per game (eight sacks in nine games) rank sixth in the nation, and he also has four forced fumbles on the year.

Arkansas is a frequent visitor to the Cotton Bowl, but is just 3-7-1 all-time in this postseason classic. The Hogs are also 0-4 ATS (1-3 SU) in their past four bowl games, including a 31-26 loss to Ohio State in last year’s Sugar Bowl. WR Joe Adams starred in that game with nine catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Adams is second on the team with 49 catches and 630 receiving yards, as Jarius Wright has emerged as a star with an SEC-leading 1,029 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He also scored in that OSU defeat, catching four passes for 70 yards. This year, Wright has tallied six 90-yard efforts, including a ridiculous 281 against Texas A&M in October.

With KSU ranking 105th in the nation in passing defense (267 YPG), the Hogs will look to air out the football. Wilson has thrown for 200+ yards in every game except one (at Alabama) and has eight games with 2+ TD passes. Arkansas has a couple of solid backs in Dennis Johnson (637 yds, 3 TD) and Ronnie Wingo Jr. (440 yds, 3 TD). The Wildcats are better statistically at stopping the run (131 YPG, 39th in FBS), but the Big 12 features mostly pass-heavy offenses. K-State’s defensive line does not usually push into opponents backfields though, with just 1.5 sacks per game (89th in nation) and 4.4 Tackles For Loss (105th in FBS).

Special teams could also play a big role in this game that features two of the better return men in the country. KSU’s Tyler Lockett leads the nation with 35.2 yards per kick return while Adams is second in the land with 16.2 yards per punt return.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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