The Rice Owls (0-9) head to Murfreesboro this weekend for a Conference USA clash with the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (3-6). Kickoff is set for 4:30 PM EST on November 16th at Floyd Stadium and the game will be televised on ESPN+.

Taking a look at the Week 12 college football odds, Middle Tennessee State opened as a 12.5-point home favorite earlier this week. The spread has increased by over a full point after early betting, as the Blue Raiders are currently available at -14. The total for the game is sitting at 47 points.

Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Middle Tennessee vs Rice

Rice is still looking for their first win of the season after losing 20-7 at home against Marshall in Week 10 to drop to 0-9 overall. The Owls scored a touchdown before the half but couldn’t find a way to produce any more points over the final two quarters en route to yet another double-digit defeat. QB Jovoni Johnson went 10/17 for 97 passing yards and a touchdown through the air while also adding 13 carries for 65 rushing yards. RB Juma Otoviano was pretty effective on the ground, averaging almost five yards per carry. Austin Trammell was on the receiving end of the only touchdown of the game for Rice, finding the end zone on one of his four catches for 35 yards. As a whole, the offense generated over 200 total yards against a tough Thundering Herd defense.

The Owls were pretty solid on the other side of the ball against Marshall, surrendering only two touchdowns despite giving up well over 400 total yards of offense. Rice did struggle to contain Thundering Herd RB Brenden Knox on the ground, as he racked up 130 yards and a touchdown on a game-high 27 carries.

Middle Tennessee State has now lost three out of their last four games after falling 34-20 against Charlotte. The Blue Raiders trailed 24-7 at the end of the second quarter and couldn’t find a way to pull off a comeback despite outscoring the 49ers over the final 30 minutes of the game. QB Asher O’Hara wasn’t at his best through the air, going 9/17 for 118 passing yards and two touchdowns but all getting picked off once. However, O’Hara did have a very impressive game on the ground, torching the defense for 148 rushing yards and a touchdown on a team-high 15 carries. Tyrese Johnson led the way for the receiving corps, hauling in a single catch for 36 yards. Overall, Middle Tennessee State gained almost 350 total yards of offense and scored three touchdowns despite coming up short on the scoreboard.

The Blue Raiders really struggled defensively against Charlotte, giving up almost 450 total yards of offense and four touchdowns. Middle Tennessee had no answer for Aaron Mcallister and Chris Reynolds on the ground, as they combined for 207 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Middle Tennessee -14

A case could easily be made for avoiding this spot altogether, as neither of these Conference USA schools really appear to offer a ton of value against what looks to be an efficient spread. However, I would much rather take a shot with the Blue Raiders at home on Saturday afternoon if forced to pick a side. Middle Tennessee State is a perfect 2-0 against the spread at home over their last two conference games, which certainly doesn’t bode well for a Rice team that is still searching for their first win of the season. While the Owls have remained competitive against some decent opponents at home, they have yet to really string together a solid road outing this year. They have also failed to cover the number in three straight games away from Rice Stadium.

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The Blue Raiders have really performed well against the spread when facing Conference USA opponents, going a very respectable 7-3 ATS over their last ten outings. On the other side, Rice is an embarrassing 0-5 straight up in their last five meetings with a conference rival. If this spread moves up by even half a point, I will probably pass on both sides instead of guessing against an accurate number. As things sit now, I’ll lay the two touchdowns and roll with the home favorites to take care of business against a winless Owls squad – give me the Blue Raiders to cover.