In a battle of two schools that like to focus on their running games, Head Coach Mike Bloomgren and the Rice Owls are getting 16 points when they play host to the UAB Blazers to Rice Stadium. This CUSA matchup will start at 1:00 p.m. ET and fans can catch it live by tuning in to ESPN+.
Betting Preview: Rice Owls vs. UAB Blazers
In this Saturday Conference USA game, UAB is tabbed as the big favorite and is currently giving up 16 points. If they are wanting to take the moneyline, gamblers would currently have to lay down $1,000 in order to win $100 back on the Blazers (-1000). The Owls are getting +625 moneyline odds. If one program gets out in front early, it will likely generate a decent live betting opportunity.
The Blazers have recorded 1.4 units so far and are 4-1 against the spread (ATS). They’ve been a good under bet and have recorded an O/U mark of 1-3.
The disappointing Owls have lost 3.2 units this season. They’re 2-4 ATS and have an O/U record of 5-1.
The Blazers have gone 4-1 straight up (SU), including 2-0 SU against conference opponents. The Owls are 1-5 SU overall and 0-2 SU in conference play.
When these two teams met a year ago, UAB won soundly 52-21.
UAB enters this contest on a zero-game losing streak while Rice has won each of its last zero. The Blazers are coming off a resounding 28-7 win over Louisiana Tech last week where A.J. Erdely completed just eight passes on 24 attempts for 136 yards, along with a score and a pick. Spencer Brown (90 rushing yards on 20 attempts, two TDs) and the signal-caller Erdely (76 yards on 13 carries, one TD) spearheaded the ground attack. Xavier Ubosi (two receptions, 50 yards, one TD) and Collin Lisa (two catches, 46 yards) shared the receiving duties in the win.
A week ago, UTSA got the victory against this Rice crew by a score of 20-3. Shawn Stankavage completed 15-of-27 passes for 158 yards and one interception. Emmanuel Esukpa (20 rushing yards on 15 attempts) and Austin Walter (31 yards on 14 carries) spearheaded the running game while Walter (eight receptions, 70 yards) and Aaron Cephus (four catches, 64 yards) led the pass-catching attack in the loss.
UAB has run the ball on 64.7 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Rice has an overall rush percentage of 56.5 percent. The Blazers have run for 237.0 yards/game (including 172.5 per game against Conference USA opponents) and have 15 touchdowns on the ground this year. The Owls are totaling 175.8 rushing yards per game (92.0 in conference) and have six total rush TDs.
Judging by the early season results, it appears the Blazers ought to hold an edge in terms of RB effectiveness. Their running backs has produced 5.2 yards per carry while their defense is allowing 4.3 YPC to opponents. The Owls have tallied 4.4 yards per carry and allowed a YPC of 4.9 to opponents.
The Blazers offensive scheme has tallied 188.4 yards per game in the air overall (175.0 per game against conference opposition) and has five passing TDs so far. The Owls have put up 180.2 pass yards per outing (150 against CUSA competition) and have nine total pass scores.
Defensively, UAB should have the upper hand when it comes to limiting the pass. The team has let opponents run for an average of 169.2 yards and throw for 134.2 yards per game. The Rice D has given up 266.2 yards per game to opposing passers and 167.2 yards per game on the ground. The Blazers are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 3.13 to opposing QBs, while the Owls have given up a staggering 10.55 ANY/A.
Offensively, Erdely is up to 693 passing yards this season, and has completed 51 percent of his 105 attempts with four passing scores and five interceptions. He has a 4.92 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 7.95 over the last two outings.
We expect the UAB offense to mix it up in this one. As a group, Spencer Brown, Collin Lisa and A.J. Erdely have combined for 363 total yards and six touchdowns over the last two outings.
Shawn Stankavage has managed to complete 75-of-130 passes for 829 yards, seven TDs and five INTs for Rice. His ANY/A sits at 5.04 for the season and 2.45 across his past two outings.
We’re expecting the Owls to control tempo by feeding the ball-carriers early and often. Along with WR Aaron Cephus (288 receiving yards, three receiving TDs this season), Austin Walter (275 rush yards, three rush TDs, 238 receiving yards) and Emmanuel Esukpa (415 rush yards, two rush TDs) have really been focal points in the Owls’ recent offensive strategies.
UAB Blazers at Rice Owls Free Pick
SU Winner: Blazers, ATS Winner: Blazers
- The Blazers offense has produced four pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Owls have put up one such play.
- The UAB defense has allowed three pass plays of 40 or more yards, while Rice has given up 10 such plays.
- The UAB offense has created seven rushing plays of 20+ yards, while Rice has created 16 such runs.
- The Blazers defense has allowed 10 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while the Owls have given up six such runs.
- The UAB defensive unit has sacked opposing QBs 19 times this year. Rice has recorded just eight sacks.
- UAB has averaged 4.58208955223881 yards per carry over its past three games and 4.4 over its last two.
- Rice has averaged 4.1 yards per carry over its last three contests and 3.9 over its last two.
- Over its last three matchups, Rice is 0-3 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
- UAB was favored by 7 points in its last game and the Over/Under going into it was 57. The under cashed and UAB covered in the 28-7 win over Louisiana Tech.
- Over its last three contests, UAB is 3-0 ATS and the under cashed in each of those three.
- Rice was favored by 2 points in its previous matchup and the Over/Under was set at 49.5. The under cashed and Rice failed to cover in the team’s 20-3 loss to UTSA.