Free Week 1 Prediction: Owls vs Hilltoppers Odds
Looking for Rice Owls vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers free picks? Week 1 College football betting sees the Owls taking on the Hilltoppers Thursday September 1st at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
(0-0) Rice Owls vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Date: September 1st
Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, Kentucky
NCAA Football Spread: Western Kentucky -16
NCAA Betting Total: 63
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C-USA action kicks off here in Week 1 as the Rice Owls and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers meet in a cross divisional game.
The two teams offer very contrasting styles as the Hilltoppers like to throw the ball all over the field while the Owls look to control the clock and run the ball right at you.
After ending their 3 straight bowl game streak, the Rice Owls will have a daunting task of opening their 2016 campaign at Western Kentucky.
The good news for the Owls? They at least get the Hilltoppers when they are transitioning from one of the best QBs in the game to a new starter.
Rice has a lot of changes in their future as they may switch away from the slower paced kind of offense they’ve become known for.
The Owls featured C-USA’s 2nd best rushing attack last season, averaging nearly 178 yards per game. Their most ideal offense would be to chew up as much clock as possible while running the ball 3 times to get a first down.
This season, with senior QB Tyler Stehling under center, the change could be one to fit his style. The 6’6 QB is very mobile and has the ability to move the pocket.
Defensively, Rice was one of the worst in the conference last season. However, injuries did them zero favors.
They will get a lot of help on the defensive line with a couple guys who missed time last year with injuries.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The Hilltoppers 2015 campaign was one of the best in their programs history.
Over the past 2 years they endured a QB that tossed 97 touchdowns and had over 10000 yards throwing. However, Brandon Doughty is now gone and the team must try to move forward while keeping their high flying attack.
For the first time in a while, it’s unclear where the Hilltoppers will go in terms of the QB situation.
During the spring, junior Mike White got a step up on the competition. A transfer from South Florida, White sat out all of last season because of eligibility rules.
While the Hilltoppers did lose their top 2 receivers, Taywan Taylor decided to stay put after considering leaving for the NFL. Taylor started just 5 games last season, but will be the go to guy out wide for WKU this season.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
- Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
- Owls are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Owls are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games.
- Hilltoppers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Hilltoppers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
- Hilltoppers are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 conference games.
Free Week 1 NCAA Football Prediction
It’s extremely hard to justify the trends here.
Western Kentucky is going to endure a lot of problems this season as they don’t have anything close to a proven QB.
On the other side of things, Rice is switching offensive styles, but still have plenty of options in the run game to work with. Just because they’re picking the tempo up, doesn’t mean they still can’t think run first.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Rice +16
The Owls get a break here getting WKU in game 1 of the season. The Hilltoppers will be working White into the QB spot and won’t be even as close to dominant as they’ve been in the past.
Week 1 Free Score Prediction: Western Kentucky 34 – Rice 23
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