Conference USA Championship: Rice Owls vs Marshall Thundering Herd Betting Matchup Report
|Marshall Thundering Herd||Rice Owls|
The Rice Owls haven't won an outright conference championship since taking the old Southwest Conference title back in 1957.
This year's version of the Owls can end that drought when they take on the Thundering Herd of Marshall in the Conference-USA championship game Saturday in Houston.
Four years ago Rice went 2-10; this year, with eight wins in their last nine games, the Owls are division champs and headed to a bowl for the second straight season.
Marshall, meanwhile, won its last five games to win CUSA's East Division and is also playing in its first conference championship game.
These two teams didn't meet this year, but they played a doozy last year, the Herd winning 54-51 at Rice in double-overtime.
Marshall was a 6-point road favorite late in the week at Bovada with a total around 61 earlier.
The Thundering Herd will try to spoil to the party on Saturday; they are 7-4-1 ATS against the number this season, while the Owls are 7-5 ATS. Marshall is 7-5 on the totals; Rice is 5-7.
The game pits the Owls, currently No. 35 in our OddsShark NCAAF Power Rankings, against the Thundering Herd, who rate No. 4 in the latest survey. Meanwhile, math and handicapping models run on this game predict a 39-25 victory for the Thundering Herd.
Last time out for Marshall, they were a 59-28 winner as they battled East Carolina at home. Marshall covered in the match as a 4-point favorite, while 87 combined points moved the game OVER for totals bettors. The Owls grabbed a Week 14 victory over the Green Wave in their last game, winning 17-13 at Rice Stadium.
How They Match Up:
The game also pits Rice's No. 58-ranked offense, averaging 30.58 PPG, against a Thundering Herd defense that ranks No. 26 this week at 21.67 PPG. The Owls aerial game is averaging 181 yards per game, less than the Thundering Herd secondary allows through the air, 206.42 YPG per game.
Defensively, the Thundering Herd feature the league's No. 60-rated road run defense, allowing 176 yards per game. Rice, meanwhile, ranks No. 28 in rushing offense at home.