The No. 21 Baylor Bears will go on the road to face the Rice Owls this Friday. Kickoff for this Week 3 matchup is set for 8:00 EST at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game will be televised on ESPN. Oddsmakers have Baylor as a massive 30.5-point road favorite with the total set at 65.5 points.
Baylor vs Rice Vegas Odds Preview
The Bears have opened up the season with two blowout wins at home against lesser opponents. Though they have failed to cover the spread in both. The Bears won 55-7 over Northwestern State as a 50.5-point favorite in Week 1. They followed it up with a 40-13 win as a 34.5-point favorite against SMU. Baylor has also seen each of their first two games go under the total.
Rice hasn’t looked good early. The Owls fell 14-46 as a 19.5-point dog at WKU and 14-31 as a 8.5-point dog at Army. They too have had each of their first two games go under the total.
These two teams played last year at Baylor. The Bears cruised to a 70-17 win as a 33-point home favorite. The total for that contest was 74 points.
Free Betting Pick & Point Spread Prediction: Rice +30.5
This might come as a surprise, but I think the value here is with Rice as a 30-point home dog. The Owls are going to come out desperate after losing their first two of the season. It’s not very often these small schools get to host a power 5 opponent. Especially one with Baylor reputation.
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What makes this even more special is that it’s a weekday night game on ESPN. This is Rice’s Super Bowl this season. As for Baylor, it’s just another game on the schedule. One they could have trouble getting up for on short rest with their conference opener on deck next week. It’s also going to be hard for them to give the Owls a ton of respect given last year’s lopsided win.
I know Baylor has two big wins to start the season, but this isn’t the same caliber a team as years past. Last week they went into the half tied 6-6 with SMU. That’s not what have grown to expect from the Bears against non-conference opponents.
Keep in mind that SMU was without starting quarterback Matt Davis. They were also fortunate that the game wasn’t a lot closer. SMU only managed one touchdown in 5 trips inside the Baylor 20. Twice throwing an interception in the end zone.
The key thing here is that oddsmakers have no choice but to inflate this line. The betting public wants nothing to do with Rice after how bad they looked in their first two games. You have to think they set this line to where they feel the Owls can cover. Note that Baylor has been a poor play in Friday games, going just 1-4 ATS in their last 5.
Backing Rice at home under head coach David Bailiff has been a wise move. He’s in his 11th year with the team and has gone 30-18 (63%) ATS at home with the Owls.