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Rice Will Surprise Some As Substantial Underdog At Notre Dame This Saturday

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/29/2014 10:48:06 PM

The 17th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish face one of the toughest schedules in the country heading in to this season. Setting the tone against a seemingly inferior opponent in week one will be important. Notre Dame opened as a 24.5-point favorite for its season opener against the Rice Owls and there aren’t many experts predicting an upset. That said, the line is down three points to 21.5 and the Fighting Irish haven’t exactly lived up to expectations as a double-digit favorite at home over the past couple of seasons.

Rice Owls @ #17 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Saturday August 30, 2014 – 3:30 PM ET

Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Indiana

College Football Betting Line: Notre Dame -21.5

Notre Dame is just 1-6 against the spread its last seven times as a double-digit home favorite. That has as much to do with inflated expectations as it does some underwhelming performances. Meanwhile, Rice is 7-1 in its last eight games as a road underdog and has had lots of time to prepare for a chance to shock the nation week one.

College Football Betting Preview: Rice

There is no doubt the Owls will have a tough time matching last year’s numbers after wining the Conference USA a year ago, especially after losing quarterback Taylor McHargue and top running back Charles Ross. Junior quarterback Driphus Jackson has the potential to be very good but he doesn’t have a ton of experience and will struggle to lead a comeback if Rice falls too far behind early on. It’s unrealistic to expect this Owls’ team to win this game and end a string of 21-straight losses against ranked opponents. That said there is enough talent on this roster to make this a competitive game.

College Football Betting Preview: Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish will look to push the tempo early on and force Rice to play from behind. Senior quarterback Everett Golson should be eager for a measure of redemption after he missed all of last season because of a suspension and whether or not this offense clicks early on will have a lot to do with his timing. It won’t help that he will be without leading receiver DaVaris Daniels because he is under investigation for receiving improper assistance from others with his school work. Notre Dame will also be without three key players on the defensive side of the ball for the same reason with senior defensive end Ishaq Williams the biggest loss. The defensive front-seven simply has to be better this year and losing Williams for the opener isn’t a good start.

College Football Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

Rice is dealing with too much turnover to expect a miraculous road win but covering such an enormous spread against a Notre Dame team dealing with its own distractions is a completely different story. The Owls’ defense will still give up plenty of points but the offense should be able to do enough to at least keep the difference within three scores. Rice is a proven bet as a road underdog over the last two years and will come through again versus an opponent that has struggled to live up to expectations recently.

College Football Betting Pick: Rice Owls +21.5



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