Western Kentucky vs. Rice Betting Odds, Picks: Value on Saturday’s Over/Under (November 13)

Western Kentucky vs. Rice Betting Odds, Picks: Value on Saturday’s Over/Under (November 13) article feature image

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  • Updated odds have the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at -19 against the Rice Owls on Saturday.
  • The Tops have a powerful offense led by quarterback Bailey Zappe and wide receiver Jerreth Sterns, but will it put up plenty of points today?
  • Matt Wispe explains where the betting value lies in this one.

Western Kentucky vs. Rice Odds

Saturday, Nov. 13
2 p.m. ET
Western Kentucky Odds
-110o / -110u
Rice Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

This is a matchup of Conference USA foes heading in different directions.

Western Kentucky has a 5-4 record and enters this game on a four-game winning streak. Rice has a 3-6 record and has lost its last two.

The Hilltoppers are 6-3 against the spread and have gone over in six games, while the Owls boast a 2-7 record ATS and have gone over in five games.

At kickoff, there will be steady crosswinds ranging from 7.5-9.5 miles per hour, which may have an impact on special teams and could have a minor impact on the passing game.

But other than some wind, the weather will be clear. Let's dive into what that means for the total.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Western Kentucky Offense

The Houston Baptist influx to the Hilltoppers' offense has paid off significantly.

Western Kentucky's 41.3 points per game ranks seventh nationally and its 7.0 yards per play ranks sixth. The biggest reason for its ability to rack up points has been its 22.2 second per play pace, which ranks as the fifth-fastest in the FBS.

The Hilltoppers have a 45.3% Success Rate and have averaged 4.59 points per opportunity.

The combination of Bailey Zappe and Jerreth Sterns is at the center of the offensive success.

Zappe is completing 69.9% of his passes for an average of 8.3 yards per attempt. He leads the nation with 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His primary target, Sterns, has racked up 1276 yards and 11 touchdowns.

As a team, the Hilltoppers have a 42% Passing Success Rate and are averaging 6.4 passes over 20 yards per game.

As you might expect from the team that leads the nation in passing yards, the Hilltoppers don't lean on the running game. They average 24.4 rush attempts per game and 4.0 yards per attempt. Two backs have attempted at least 60 carries, each of which is averaging more than five yards per carry.

The offensive line generates 3.2 Line Yards per attempt and as a unit, it has a stuff rate of 15.1%.

Western Kentucky Defense

For as strong as the Western Kentucky offense is, it is the defense that has held them back this season.

The Hilltoppers are allowing 29.4 points per game and 5.5 yards per attempt. They have allowed a 43.7% Success Rate and are allowing an average of 4.19 points per opportunity.

One positive for this defense has been their ability to create havoc. They have an 18.6% Havoc rate, which ranks 31st in the country.

Opposing QBs are completing 61.0% of their passes for an average of 7.04 yards per attempt. They're allowing a 37% Passing Success Rate and allow an average of 3.22 20+ yard passes per game. They've defended 39 passes and have forced 11 interceptions.

The rush defense has struggled for Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are allowing 169.9 yards per game at an average of 4.2 yards per attempt. They allow a 49.8% Rushing Success Rate, which ranks as the 12th-worst nationally.

Opposing offensive lines have generated an average of 3.37 Line Yards per attempt and Western Kentucky has forced just an 11.8% stuff rate.

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Rice Owls

Rice Offense

The Rice offense is almost the complete opposite of Western Kentucky's.

The Owls play at a slow pace and lean heavily on the running game. They’ve averaged 30.7 seconds per play and run the ball 57.95% of offensive plays. They have a 37.9% Success Rate and average just 2.85 points per opportunity.

All of this has left the Owls averaging just 19.3 points per game and 5.1 yards per play.

Rice is averaging just 187.1 passing yards per game. The Owls have rotated between three starting quarterbacks, but it appears that Jake Constantine will be leading the team for the remainder of the season.

Constantine is completing 64.1% of his passes for an average of 8.1 yards per attempt. He's thrown for just five touchdowns and three interceptions.

As a team, the Owls have a 39.4% Passing Success Rate and average 2.1 passes over 20 yards per game.

The Owls run the ball an average of 40.4 times per game and have averaged 3.7 yards per attempt. They're averaging 149.9 yards per game.

Rice has, seemingly used the "hot hand" approach with its running back rotation, as three backs have at least 80 carries and none have more than 90. Against Charlotte, last week, it was Ari Broussard who made the impact with 186 yards and two scores.

As a team, they have a 37.3% Rushing Success Rate, which isn't helped by the offensive line creating 2.85 Line Yards per attempt. They've only been stuffed 13.4% of the time, though.

Rice Defense

Rice has allowed 35.9 points per game, which ranks 11th-worst in the country, and 6.6 yards per play. The Owls allow a 41.8% Success Rate and 3.27 points per opportunity.

One positive for the Owls is that they've created Havoc on 18.6% of plays.

Rice is allowing 235.7 passing yards per game at an average of 8.24 yards per attempt. Opposing QBs are completing 62.6% of their passes. Rice has allowed a 36.8% Passing Success Rate and it allows an average of 3.67 20+ yard passes per game. The Owls have defended 31 passes and have forced eight interceptions.

Rice has allowed 179.6 rushing yards per game at an average of 5.3 yards per attempt. They allow a 48.3% Rushing Success Rate.

The Owls' defensive line has allowed opposing offensive lines to create 3.27 Line Yards per attempt and they've only forced a 14.2% stuff rate.

Western Kentucky vs. Rice Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Western Kentucky and Rice match up statistically:

Western Kentucky Offense vs. Rice Defense
Rush Success109110
Line Yards5097
Pass Success271
Pass Blocking**150
Big Play17111
Finishing Drives2271
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Rice Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
Rush Success93119
Line Yards104108
Pass Success8273
Pass Blocking**9881
Big Play10691
Finishing Drives87106
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling75125
Middle 87107
SP+ Special Teams11129
Plays per Minute5124
Rush Rate33.2% (129)61.2% (20)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Almost any defense in the country would struggle against this Western Kentucky offense, but a porous Rice defense looks to be in trouble.

Western Kentucky vs. Rice Betting Pick

The tickets bet on this game are split closely with Rice at 52%, but the money indicates that sharp betters are coming in on the Owls. 70% of the money has been bet on Rice. However, the line has only moved down half a point from open.

I lean slightly toward Rice getting 18.5 points but with Western Kentucky's ability to score quickly, this isn't my preferred play on the game.

Instead, I'm taking under the total at 61 or better. Rice has only had one game finish with a total in the 60's this season and it found significant offensive success in that matchup.

My expectation is that Rice will find just enough success on offense to keep the clock moving and keep the score lower.

Pick: Under 61 or better

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