Liberty Bowl: Rice vs Mississippi State
The champions of Conference USA this season, Rice will top off their campaign on December 31 as they take on Mississippi State in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Rice knocked off Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA Championship Game on December 7 despite being the 6.5-point underdog on the betting lines that day.
Favorites are just 2-7 ATS in the past 9 Liberty Bowls, while Rice has won and covered past two bowl games.
Mississippi State is 5-1 SU in bowls since 1999 (losing their last time out) and the Bulldogs covered four straight spreads to end the season. The Liberty Bowl odds had the Bulldogs favored by 7.5 points at Bovada with a total of 50.5 earlier.
The Owls currently sport a record of 10-3, and have posted a corresponding betting slate of 8-5 ATS. The Bulldogs are 6-6 and 7-5 ATS. Betting totals have seen the Owls post a 6-7 over under record this season, while the Bulldogs have gone 4-8 against the number.
Liberty Bowl betting odds: Mississippi State was favored by more than a touchdown in early wagering at BetOnline.
The Power Rankings at OddsShark have the No. 69-rated Bulldogs taking on the No. 32-rated Owls in this contest. Handicapping models indicate a 32-26 win for the Owls on Tuesday.
In their last action, Mississippi State was a 17-10 winner at home against Mississippi. They covered the 3.5-point spread as underdogs, while the combined score (27) was profitable news for UNDER bettors. Marshall was unable to contain Charles Ross in its last action Saturday and the result was a 41-24 Week 15 loss against the Owls.
How They Match Up:
The game also pits Rice's No. 51-ranked offense, averaging 31.38 PPG, against a Bulldogs defense that ranks No. 42 this week at 24.33 PPG. The Owls aerial game is averaging 185.46 yards per game, less than the Bulldogs secondary allows through the air, 215.25 YPG per game.
Defensively, the Bulldogs feature the league's No. 59-rated road run defense, allowing 176.4 yards per game. Rice, meanwhile, ranks No. 27 in rushing offense at home.