Three is a charm for one of the college football bowls games Saturday.
With crossed fingers, the inaugural Wasabi Fenway Bowl between former rivals Cincinnati (9-3) and Louisville (7-5) finally will go off as scheduled at historic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox (ESPN, 11 a.m.).
The “first” Fenway Bowl was scheduled for 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The game was brought back for Dec. 26, 2021, but just a mere three days before kickoff, it was cancelled yet again due to an Omnicron variant outbreak among the University of Virginia football team. Its opponent, SMU, was unable to find a replacement for the game.
Massachusetts sportsbooks are not ready for action on the game as betting in the state is not yet launched. The plan is for retail to begin next month and mobile wagering to commence before March Madness.
Betting became legal when Gov. Charlie Baker signed it into law on Aug. 10, after the law was passed Aug. 1.
Baker, by the way, was named this week to be the next president of the NCAA.
Coaching Carousel Colliding
The Fenway Bowl has another storyline entering the game.
In late November, the University of Wisconsin hired then-Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell to become its head coach. Eight days later, Cincinnati hired then-Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield to be Fickel’s replacement. Satterfield will not coach in Saturday’s game for either side.
All of this came three days after both schools were announced as bowl opponents.
In another coincidence, Deion Branch was named the school’s interim head coach and will return to the Commonwealth to coach in his first-ever game. Branch, of course, is the former New England Patriots wide receiver, Super Bowl champion and MVP and Louisville alum.
Interim head coach Kerry Coombs will be on the sidelines for Cincinnati.
DraftKings Updated Odds
There are no Massachusetts sports apps yet, but let’s take a look at Boston-based DraftKings latest odds as of Friday morning.
Louisville is a 1.5-point and -135 moneyline favorite against Cincinnati (+1.5, +115), with the over/under total points in the game at 40.
However, these odds still could change a bit as Cincinnati junior wide receiver Tyler Scott announced early Wednesday afternoon that he is opting out of the game and declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Scott, quarterback Evan Prater’s main threat, had 14 career touchdowns, all from 20 yards out, and this year lead the team with 54 receptions, 899 yards and nine TDs.
The Keg of Nails Back One More Time
With both schools about 100 miles apart and playing for a traveling trophy entitled The Keg of Nails, the Bearcats lead the all-time series, 30-22-1.
In their last meeting in 2013, No. 16 Louisville upended Cincinnati on the road, 31-24, in overtime. The series was discontinued after the Cardinals joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013 but is back for at least one more game in a historic and unusual setting with unplanned circumstances.
BetMassachusetts.com will be covering all news developments related to sports betting in the state as well as provide Massachusetts betting promos.