#Betting101: Rice Is Nice

Rice Owls

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 21, 2017 2:33 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017 2:33 PM GMT

The Rice Owls are one of the worst teams in the FBS, but they’re a great college football pick when they’re laying points – like this Saturday against Florida International. 

There are certain things in our lives that only come around once in a blue moon. Things like Halley’s Comet, white giraffes – and the Rice Owls as favorites. The Owls (1-2 SU and ATS) are among the worst FBS programs in the country, ranked 127 out of 130 teams according to the F/+ Combined Ratings at Football Outsiders. But at press time, they’re 2.5-point home favorites for Saturday’s game (7:30 p.m. ET) against the Florida International Golden Panthers.

Why is this important? Because Rice is 27-13 ATS as a favorite in 10-plus years under head coach David Bailiff. That’s a 67.5-percent success rate. Let’s dig deep, peel back the layers, and see if this matchup has enough angles to go into our Week 4 college football picks.
 

Give a Hoot

First, since we’re dealing with a small favorite, let’s check out the moneyline and see if there’s more value there. Rice can be had as a –130 favorite at MyBookie.ag; if you start at PK (–110) and work your way up to –2.5, you should only be willing to pay about 18 cents in added juice, so –130 isn’t a bargain at all if I did the math right. Oh well.

Next, a little more math: ESPN’s Football Power Index likes the Owls to win this game 63.7 percent of the time, which comes out to something like Rice –4 or –4.5 for a kayfabe spread. That’s promising. They say anytime you have a difference of two points between the projections and the NCAAF odds, you’ve got a viable pick on your hands. We’re going to call this one viable, especially since the gap in question crosses the magic 3-point threshold, and the Owls are available at –2 if you shop around.
 


It might be a good idea to keep that bet size modest, though. While the Golden Panthers (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) are pretty bad themselves, they’re eight spots ahead of Rice on the F/+ Ratings, and they’re coming off an unscheduled bye week because of Hurricane Irma. Not that dealing with Irma itself will help FIU’s cause, but the Owls have had their own issues cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey. It’s a bit chaotic out there. Maybe a little football will elevate people’s spirits – and our bankrolls.

Free College Football Pick: Rice –2
Best Line Offered: at Jazz

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