Rice 2018 Betting Preview: Owls Have Plenty of Experience for Exciting New Coach

Rice 2018 Betting Preview: Owls Have Plenty of Experience for Exciting New Coach article feature image

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nahshon Ellerbe

Rice 2018 Betting Odds

  • To win the National Title: +999999
  • To win the C-USA: +50500
  • Win Total: 3.5 (over +100, under -130)

Always shop for the best line.

Rice 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds

The Action Network Projected Wins: 4.8

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Rice Win Total Over 3.5 (+100)

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about a Rice program that has found itself in steady decline over the past three years. Former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren takes over as head coach in Houston and will implement a physical style of play.

This is Bloomgren’s first venture as a head coach, but the addition of former head coach Pete Lembo (Ball State, Maryland) to the staff will help tremendously. Lembo will serve as the Owls’ associate head coach and special teams coordinator.

Bloomgren will also demand discipline from a team that has struggled to take care of the ball in recent seasons. That was a staple at Stanford.

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The Owls are a shocking -42 in net turnovers since 2015, which the new coaching staff should improve immediately. Bloomgren oversaw positive net turnover numbers annually with the Cardinal.

Rice has also struggled to create havoc and to force takeaways (finishing dead last in numerous years), but I think the new staff will have a positive impact there as well. That should ultimately create early line value with the Owls.

If the new staff can help solve the turnover issues, I think we see four wins from an Owls squad that ranks 24th overall in returning production. Prairie View A&M, UTSA, UTEP and Old Dominion all play in Houston, where Rice should be the favorite. Coin-flip games against Hawaii, Southern Miss and FIU could send the Owls bowling. Take the over 3.5 wins and get a double order of rice in your next Chipotle bowl.

What else you need to know about Rice

In addition to early turnover numbers, keep tabs on the production of the Rice offensive line — a unit that will have to replace four starters.

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