College Football Odds, Picks for Rice vs Texas: Betting Value on Underdog
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy.
Rice vs Texas Odds
We head down to Austin, Texas, where the Texas Longhorns host the Rice Owls.
Everybody seems to keep asking if this is the year Texas is "back." For Steve Sarkisian's squad, we may not find out for another week when his team heads to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide.
That upcoming showdown is a huge part of the handicap for this matchup, so let's waste no further time digging into both of these teams and find the correct angle for this one.
Let's see if we can find any value in this game, with everything you need to know about Rice vs. Texas odds and picks in this NCAAF betting preview for Sept. 2.
The Owls enter this season with a chip on their shoulder as they look to gain legitimate bowl eligibility for the first time since 2014. I realize they played in a bowl game last season, but that was only because they were a replacement team (5-8 overall record).
Luckily for them, they made a huge splash in the portal by landing West Virginia quarterback transfer JT Daniels.
It's been quite an interesting ride for Daniels, as this will now be his fourth FBS team after the former five-star recruit began at USC and Georgia.
Luke McCaffrey entered his college career as a quarterback, but he has now transitioned to playing wide receiver. This should certainly help an Owls offense that ranked 45th in explosiveness last season.
Ranking eighth in returning offensive production, I can definitely see the Owls having some success in this matchup. Daniels has faced Power 5 defenses before, so as long as he takes care of the football, the Owls should move down the field a bit.
Rice also brings multiple options to the table in the running back room, where it could rotate as many as four players.
I would say Rice has a prayer to win this game, but its poor defense definitely won't help. This was definitely a cause for concern when digging into this matchup, as the Owls finished near the bottom of the barrel in the majority of defensive metrics.
Of course, we don't have to worry about them winning the game outright, but we're questioning whether or not they can stay within the spread. Their offense that features of a lot of 12 and 22 personnel makes me believe the clock can stay running here, as long as they can pick up some first downs on a regular basis.
I am definitely a believer in this Longhorns team. The word "loaded" does not even appropriately describe how good this team is. They should be in the College Football Playoff conversation, and it all starts here.
Quarterback Quinn Ewers returns as the declared starter, but he may not be for long. This Longhorns team has so much depth in a ton of areas, especially the quarterback room. Five-star prospects Maalik Murphy and Arch Manning both loom behind Ewers, and some are saying Murphy is the most talented QB on this roster, so this may be something to monitor later in the season.
In this specific matchup, Ewers should have a field day against the Owls defense. If he puts up monster numbers in the first half, I could definitely see Sarkisian pulling the starters altogether.
Regardless of who's under center, the Longhorns will have plenty of receiving options with this extremely talented pass-catching group. Between Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittingham and Isaiah Neyor, who is back from injury, there will be plenty of explosive plays on offense. I would not be stunned to see all three find the end zone Saturday.
The defense should be just as strong coming into the season, as the numbers from last year were actually not too bad. The Longhorns struggled against the pass, but with stud Arkansas transfer Jalen Catalon joining the secondary, this experienced group will be much improved.
The defensive front should also have no issues causing Havoc against the Owls.
Let's face it — all eyeballs will be on the Longhorns next weekend when they face Alabama, and I'm certain Sark does not want to dig too deep into the playbook this week. The game plan here is to get up big early, then slow things down significantly in the second half.
Rice vs. Texas
Betting Pick & Prediction
Hold your nose, people — we're backing the Owls here.
Look, I know the Owls are completely outclassed against the Longhorns, but this handicap is all about the lookahead spot for Texas. We won't see the full playbook from the Longhorns, and there will be a point where Sark pulls everybody and sits on the ball in the second half.
The Owls have enough talent on offense to sustain a few drives, and when the Longhorns pull their starters, Rice should have even greater success. The Owls could lose 55-0 here, but 35.5 points is way too much given all of the circumstances.
As always, shop around for the best number, and wait for a live number if you can't get +35 or greater.