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Rice vs Southern Miss Prediction, Odds and College Football Betting Picks for LendingTree Bowl

Among the plethora of college football bowl games scheduled for Saturday is a matchup between the Rice Owls and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The LendingTree Bowl is one of several bowl games pitting teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference against one another. The Rice vs Southern Miss odds and college football betting picks are heavily titled toward the Golden Eagles in this matchup.

The following game preview provides the college football betting odds, trends and FEI Index ratings before sharing our official Rice vs Southern Miss prediction for the LendingTree Bowl matchup.

Rice vs Southern Miss Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

LendingTree Bowl
Rice Owls (5-7, 3-5 CUSA) vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (6-6, 4-4 SBC)
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2022
Time: 5:45 p.m. EST
Venue: Hancock Whitney Stadium — Mobile, AL
Coverage: ESPN

For all intents and purposes, Rice is very lucky to even be playing in the College Football Bowl Season. After getting off to a 4-3 start, the Owls wound up losing four of their final five games and actually fell short of the six wins needed to be bowl eligible. Rice still managed to sneak into the LendingTree Bowl by virtue of being the top team in the NCAA Academic Progressive Rate rankings. Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, this is already the most wins that the program has accumulated in a season since 2015.

In a similar vein, Southern Miss also tailed off late in the regular season after a splendid start that included a road win over Tulane. However, the Golden Eagles were able to snap a three-game losing skid in their regular season finale with a victory over Louisiana-Monroe to clinch bowl eligibility. Star running back Frank Gore Jr. came up huge in the finale and ultimately finished the regular season 30th in the country with 1,053 rushing yards. The Southern Miss defense has been stingy all year long as well.

Frank Gore Jr. Rice vs Southern Miss prediction odds college football betting picks LendingTree Bowl game predictions
Credit: Chuck Cook – USA TODAY Sports

Rice vs Southern Miss College Football Betting Picks and Odds

All college football betting odds for Rice vs Southern Miss can be found at BetOnline Sportsbook.

Moneyline: RICE: (+205) | USM: (-245)
Point Spread: RICE: +6.5 (-110) | USM: -6.5 (-110)
Total: 45.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

College Football FEI Ratings

The following table shares the Fremeau Efficiency Index rankings for both teams involved in this LendingTree Bowl matchup. The purpose of the FEI ratings is to represent the per-possession scoring advantage that a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent. The rankings for offense and defense are out of 131 total FBS-level teams.

Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) ratings are froFootball Outsiders

TeamOverall FEI (Rk)OFEI (Rk)DFEI (Rk)
Rice-.73 (120)-.66 (105)-.60 (108)
Southern Mississippi-.36 (96)-.79 (119)-.05 (64)
  • Owls are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games played in the month of December.
  • Each of the Owls’ last four games against Sun Belt Conference opponents has gone OVER the total.
  • 15 of the Owls’ last 17 non-conference games spanning the last five years have gone OVER the total.
  • Golden Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven non-conference games.
  • Golden Eagles are 8-2 ATS in their last ten games against poor run defenses allowing more than 4.6 yards per carry.
  • The OVER is 5-1 in the Golden Eagles’ last six games following an ATS win.
  • Dating back to 2008, betting favorites are 9-2 ATS in head-to-head meetings between Rice and Southern Miss.

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Rice vs Southern Miss Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

In addition to being the inferior team in terms of adjusted efficiency ratings, Rice also comes into the LendingTree Bowl with several personnel question marks. Each of the Owls’ top two quarterbacks, TJ McMahon and Wiley Green, missed time down the stretch of the regular season with injuries. The same is true of uber-talented receiver, Luke McCaffrey whose status for Saturday is uncertain.

With McMahon yet to practice in advance of the bowl game, true freshman AJ Padgett would presumably be in line to start. While he was able to post modest numbers in the regular-season finale, that game also came against a North Texas defense that was among the worst in college football this year. Going up against an experienced Southern Miss defense figures to be a much tougher matchup.

After playing musical chairs at the quarterback position for the better part of the last two years, junior Trey Lowe III was the primary signal-caller for Southern Miss late in the season. No matter who is under center for the Golden Eagles, bettors should anticipate Frank Gore Jr. being the focal point of the offense in the bowl game. Senior wideout Jason Brownlee is also more than capable of making an impact.

The fact that Rice allowed an average of 166.2 rushing yards per game doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in their ability to stop Gore. Add in the Owls’ injury concerns on offense and keeping the final margin within a touchdown could prove to be a tough ask.

SOUTHERN MISS COVERS will be our official college football betting Rice vs Southern Miss prediction for the LendingTree Bowl.

For what it’s worth, the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives Southern Miss a 66.4% chance to win this game outright.

Bet: Southern Miss -6.5 (-110 at BetOnline Sportsbook)

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