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Southern Miss vs Rice Odds, Predictions | How to Bet LendingTree Bowl

Southern Miss vs Rice Odds, Predictions | How to Bet LendingTree Bowl article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Rice Owls wide receiver Luke McCaffrey (left) and Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Trey Lowe (right).

Southern Miss vs Rice Odds

Saturday, December 17
5:45 p.m. ET
ESPN
Southern Miss Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6.5
-105
45.5
-110o / -110u
-240
Rice Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6.5
-115
45.5
-110o / -110u
+295
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Former Conference USA foes meet at Hancock Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, on Saturday for the LendingTree Bowl.

Southern Miss comes in at 6-6 but covered five of its last six games and was one of only two teams to beat Tulane this season. Its losses this season came against Miami, Liberty, South Alabama, Troy, Georgia State and Coastal Carolina, so it actually played a pretty difficult schedule for a for a Group of Five team.

Rice comes into the bowl game reeling, losing four of its last five games of the season. It has given up a combined 107 points in its last three games against Western Kentucky, UTSA and North Texas, so the Owls are lucky to be in a bowl game right now.


Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Golden Eagles Offense

The Golden Eagles offense has been pretty lackluster this season. They’re averaging only 4.7 yards per play while ranking 117th in Success Rate and 72nd in EPA/Play.

Southern Miss’ offense runs the ball on 57.2% of offensive plays with a solid running back in Frank Gore Jr., who is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season. Gore also has an 89.1 PFF rushing grade and 37 runs over 10 yards, so he should be able to run all over this poor Rice front seven.

Frank Gore Jr. has more juice than his dad did and finished the day with 32 attempts for 178 yards and 2 TDs #draftwatch
pic.twitter.com/MBGRk9A3Tu

— Tommy Mo (@2on1FFB) September 4, 2022

Southern Miss lost starting quarterback Ty Keyes in October for the season, but Trey Lowe has filled in nicely as a starter for three games.

Lowe has put up an 80.6 PFF passing grade with nine big-time throws compared to three turnover-worthy plays. He should be able to throw on a secondary that ranks 114th in EPA/Pass Allowed.

Golden Eagles Defense

Southern Miss has a fantastic defense, which is the main reason why it made its way to a bowl game. The Golden Eagles allowed only 5.2 yards per play and ranked 14th in Success Rate Allowed and 22nd in EPA/Play.

USM has been incredibly stout against the run, allowing only 3.9 yards per carry while ranking 15th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 22nd in EPA/Rush.

The front four has been getting a tremendous push up front, ranking 26th in Defensive Line Yards and 49th in Stuff Rate. That will be big against one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in college football.

The secondary has also been really good this season, as it’s 23rd in Passing Success Rate Allowed. But the one weakness it has is giving up big plays, ranking 110th in passing explosiveness allowed. Rice sits 46th in passing explosiveness on the season, but again, it’s on a third-string quarterback.


Rice Owls

Owls Offense

Rice has been shuffling through a bunch of different quarterbacks throughout the season.

It started out with Wiley Green in the opener. Then, he got hurt, and the Owls went to TJ McMahon, which is when they went on their run in the middle of the season. However, McMahon got knocked out of the game against Western Kentucky and has not returned.

It’s been a mixture of a couple of freshmen in Shawqi Itraish and AJ Padgett the past few games, which has not worked out well.

It looks like AJ Padgett will get the start in the bowl game, but the Owls have scored just 24 points in their last two games and averaged only 4.6 yards per play since McMahon went down.

Rice’s rushing attack really isn’t that effective either, as it averages only 3.9 yards per carry while ranking 86th in Rushing Success Rate and 64th in EPA/Rush.

Here’s the main issue with the Rice offense: Its offensive line is abysmal.

The Owls own a PFF run-blocking grade of 46.1, which is good for 124th in the nation. They also have a PFF pass-blocking grade of 50.8, which ranks 117th nationally.

That’s not good news when going up against a Southern Miss defense that’s top-10 in Havoc.

Owls Defense

Defensively, Rice has been putrid all season. It has allowed a whopping 6.2 yards per play while ranking 123rd in EPA/Play Allowed and 120th in Finishing Drives.

The Owls have been terrible against the run, allowing 4.9 yards per carry (112th in FBS) and ranking 72nd in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 113th in EPA/Rush.

Even over their last three games of the season, they allowed a whopping 6.4 yards per carry against Western Kentucky, UTSA and North Texas. Only one of those offenses is predominately a rushing attack like Southern Miss.

UTSA Frank Harris in Q1 vs. Rice:

6/6, 46 passing yards, 1 TD
3 carries, 69 rush yards, 1TD

Meep. Meep.#210TriangleOfToughness | #CFB

pic.twitter.com/lB6owm31oz

— College Football Network (@CFN365) November 19, 2022

The secondary has been every bit as bad, as it’s allowing 8.0 yards per attempt while ranking 100th in Passing Success Rate, and 112th in terms of coverage grade.

To make things even worse for Rice, it’s 88th in tackling, which is why its defense ranks 127th in explosiveness allowed.

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Southern Miss vs Rice Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Southern Miss and Rice match up statistically:

Rice Offense vs Southern Miss Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 86 15
Line Yards 66 26
Pass Success 45 23
Pass Blocking** 117 73
Havoc 106 10
Finishing Drives 101 62
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

Southern Miss Offense vs Rice Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 120 72
Line Yards 117 57
Pass Success 96 100
Pass Blocking** 129 62
Havoc 123 102
Finishing Drives 93 120
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 88 80
PFF Coverage 102 49
SP+ Special Teams 119 26
Seconds per Play 29.8 (124) 27.0 (82)
Rush Rate 54.0% (67) 57.2% (38)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Southern Miss vs Rice Betting Pick

With Rice now on its third quarterback this season, it’s hard to imagine it finding much success if it can’t get the run game going. If the Owls are one-dimensional, they won’t find a way to light up Southern Miss’ weaker secondary.

Plus, the Owls’ offensive line is going to have a really difficult time blocking the Golden Eagles’ front seven.

On the flip side, Rice’s defense is so incredibly bad against both the run and the pass, so Gore and Company should be able to move the ball at will despite their previous offensive woes.

I have Southern Miss projected at -8.4, so I like the value on the Golden Eagles at -6.5.

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