Sports Betting In Nearby States Shows Ohio State, Cincinnati As Bowl Game Underdogs

Posted By Derek Helling on December 24, 2020 - Last Updated on January 21, 2021

Lawmakers in Ohio couldn’t work out a framework for legal sports betting this year. While there’s hope for 2021, that means Ohioans will have to go out of state to legally wager on college football bowl games involving local programs.

Whether that means traveling to nearby Indiana, Pennsylvania or West Virginia for placing your bets, sportsbooks aren’t very optimistic about Cincinnati or Ohio State winning their respective games.

Of course, there’s always hope.

Ohio bowl game betting lines similar

The action on New Year’s Day 2021 gets going at noon ET, when the Bearcats face the Georgia Bulldogs in the Peach Bowl on ESPN. Although Cincinnati heads into this game at 9-0, Georgia has a bit of a home-field advantage.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is the site of this game, for which the Bulldogs are a 6.5- or 7-point favorite, depending on the operator. Georgia has won each of the previous two meetings between these two programs. However, the last time they played was in 1976.

Meanwhile, the No. 3 Buckeyes and their opponent for Jan. 1 have played much more recently. The stakes in that game are higher as well.

Ohio State faces No. 2 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl at 8 p.m. ET in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The victor goes on to face the winner of the Rose Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame.

The Tigers have won all three games against the Buckeyes, including last year’s CFP semifinal. Online sportsbooks in states that border Ohio have Clemson as a consensus 7.5-point favorite.

The total for the Peach Bowl rests around 50 points, while that of the Sugar Bowl sits around 66 points. Whether it’s best to bet on the over or the under for those games depends on which numbers you trust the most.

What stats say about Peach, Sugar bowl games

If you’re looking for some recent history about how these teams have performed against the spread and in regard to the total, here’s what you need to know:

  • The total has hit the over in four of Cincinnati’s last five games
  • Georgia is 2-4 against the spread in its last six games
  • Clemson went 5-6 ATS this season
  • The over hit in three of Ohio State’s six games

Sugar Bowl preview

The Buckeyes averaged more points per game than all but six FBS teams this season, though it’s important to remember they only played six games. One of those teams scoring more was Clemson, which suggests betting on the over.

It’s important to look into the history of the contests between these programs, however. In three Ohio State-Clemson matchups, the under has hit twice. The total for those games averaged to 52.6 points per contest.

Clemson has covered the spread in all three games against Ohio State as well. The Tigers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven neutral-site games and 3-1 ATS in their past four bowl games.

Peach Bowl preview

For the Peach Bowl, Cincinnati averaged six more points per game than Georgia this season. Only six FBS teams averaged fewer points allowed per game than the Bearcats.

Taking the under and/or the Bearcats to cover looks good based on those numbers, but there is one big consideration.

It’s fair to wonder whether Cincinnati has seen an opponent like Georgia this season.

Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia sportsbooks appear confident that these Ohio teams won’t prevail on New Year’s Day.

That might mean some payouts for Ohioans willing to cross state lines and place legal bets in any of those states.

Photo by AP / Darron Cummings
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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