Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#415 Rice -5 vs.
#416 UTSA 45
Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 6:00pm EDT
Alamodome, San Antonio
Written by Nick Raffoul

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W/L
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#415 Rice University
#416 University of Texas at San Antonio
0-6
2-4
3-2-1
2-4
3-3
2-3-1
15
17
30
32

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The Rice Owls will travel to the Alamodome on Saturday evening for a Conference USA clash versus the UTSA Roadrunners.

Rice enters the week with a winless record, but they’ve played some inspiring football over the past month. Meanwhile, UTSA is just two weeks removed from their last win, but attendance levels are starting to creep to all-time lows for a fan-base that has grown tired with the Roadrunners’ sloppy brand of football. The Roadrunners enter this game favored by only four points. Could this be the week that Rice gets on the board with their first win of the season against UTSA?

Rice still seeking first win after 0-6 start

Rice is hoping a much-needed bye week can help the program get back on the winning track. The Owls have opened the season with six consecutive losses and they are running out of winnable games on the schedule. In fact, Saturday’s game versus the Roadrunners might be Rice’s best chance at a victory until the team plays 1-4 UTEP in the regular season finale on Nov. 30.

After strong showings against Baylor and Louisiana Tech, the Owls were unable to keep up with UAB in a 35-20 defeat two weeks ago. Wiley Green tossed for 161 yards and two touchdowns, while Aston Walter finished with 102 rushing yards and a score for Rice, which dropped to 0-6 on the year and 0-2 versus C-USA opponents. The touchdown passes were the first two of the season for Green, who went nearly 100 attempts before throwing his first collegiate touchdowns.

Rice has started to open the playbook up for the redshirt freshman after a slow start to the season. Green has his progress slowed after he was taken to the hospital during the team’s Week 2 loss to Wake Forest. After attempting just 19 passes in his first two games, the freshman signal caller has thrown the ball 89 times over the past three games, which has led to some better results on offense for the Owls. On defense, Rice comes in allowing 30.3 points and 406.0 yards of total offense per game, including 249.7 yards per game through the air.

Wilson on the hot seat for UTSA

The Roadrunners were unable to keep their momentum going last week, losing at home to UAB 33-14. Lowell Narcisse finished 8-of-19 passing for 94 yards, while adding a team-high 84 rushing yards and a score on the ground in a losing effort. UTSA struggled to get much of anything going offensively all afternoon, mustering just 220 total yards and averaging just 3.9 yards per game on the day. Mental mistakes didn’t help either, as the team also lost two fumbles and committed nine penalties for 78 yards to fall to 2-4 and 1-2 in conference play.

Fans in San Antonio have grown tired with the team’s anemic passing offense and lack of discipline, which has come to characterize head coach Frank Wilson’s tenure with the program. Attendance is already starting to dip to dangerously low levels and Wilson could be past the point of no return -- no matter what happens for the remainder of the season. UTSA has won just 11 games in the last three seasons under Wilson and only one of those victories have come against a team with a winning record.

UTSA comes into Saturday’s matchup versus winless Rice with similar numbers to the Owls, indicating this might be a closer game than the overall records might suggest. The Roadrunners are scoring only 17.5 points per game and averaging 31.6 yards of total offense per contest -- most of which comes on the ground (185.3 rushing yards per game). On defense, they are allowing 32.5 points per contest, including 397.7 yards of total offense per game (220.5 rushing yards per game).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Rice could very well win this game. The UTSA football program is in complete disarray right now and there won’t be much of a home-field advantage in a half-empty Alamodome on Saturday. Rice’s freshman quarterback, Wiley Green, has been gaining confidence over the past two weeks and he’s fresh off throwing the first two touchdowns of his college career vs. UAB. Rice has flashed improvement over the past three weeks and this looks like a perfect spot for them to breakthrough coming off a bye versus an underwhelming UTSA team. Look for Rice to cover the spread in this C-USA showdown at the Alamodome on Saturday evening. 

Prediction: Rice +4

Full-Game Total Pick

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These two teams are pegged for an embarrassing 42 points and they might not even reach that total on Saturday. Rice has played inspired defense since their blowout loss to Texas. They held Baylor to just 21 points and L.A. Tech to only 23 points in an overtime defeat before allowing 35 two weeks ago to UAB. UTSA has been anemic offensively this season and I don’t expect that to magically change versus Rice. Take this game to go under the projected total on Saturday night.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.