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First Responder Bowl Betting Preview: Rice Owls vs. Texas St Bobcats

December 26, 2023


The Texas State Bobcats will play the Rice Owls in the 2023 First Responder Bowl on Tuesday evening December 26th in Dallas, Texas as Gerald J. Ford Stadium with the game kicking off at 5:30 PM ET and will air on ESPN.

 

Texas State finished the season with a record of 7-5 which led to a 2nd place finish in the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference, however, the Bobcats lost three of their final five games of the season but ended their two-game losing streak with a 52-44 win at home against the South Alabama Jaguars in their season finale.

 

The success for the Bobcats this season can be attributed to their offense as they enter this game averaging 36 points per game which ranks 17th in college football and their passing offense was one of the best in the nation. 

 

TJ Finley played a pivotal role in the success the passing offense had this season as he enters this game having completed 264 of 385 attempts for 3,188 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

 

However, Texas State had one of the worst scoring defenses in college football this year as they allowed the 16th most points per game with an average of 33.83 points per game. The Texas State Bobcats will look to end the season on a two-game winning streak when they play the Rice Owls in the First Responder Bowl.

 

The Rice Owls ended the season in 5th place in the American Athletic Conference with a record of 6-6 and are on a two-game winning streak following a 24-21 win at home against the Florida Atlantic Owls in their season finale. Rice was one of the higher-scoring teams in the nation as they enter this game averaging 30.25 points per game. 

 

The Owls also feature one of the most polarizing players on offense, Luke McCaffrey, who is Christian McCaffrey’s younger brother. McCaffrey enters this game leading the team in receiving with 68 receptions for 963 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 101 yards on 13 attempts.

 

However, the defense for the Owls was a below-average scoring defense as they allowed an average of 26.67 points per game. The Rice Owls will look to end the season on a three-game winning streak and improve their record to above .500 when they play the Texas State Bobcats on Monday evening. 

 

BookMaker has the Texas State Bobcats listed as 4.5-point favorites against the Rice Owls in the First Responder Bowl on Tuesday evening. This will be the first time in the history of these two programs that they will face each other in college football. The Texas State Bobcats are 6-6 ATS overall and 3-4 ATS as a favorite this season while the Rice Owls are 8-3-1 ATS overall and 5-1 ATS as an underdog on the year.

 

Texas State enters this game with a better record, however, Rice enters this game on a two-game winning streak and has been the better team at covering the spread this season as they are 8-3-1 ATS overall and 5-1 ATS as an underdog.

 

This game should be one of the tightest matchups in the bowl season.  At this point Texas State has the ability to score but Rica has a solid passing game as well and absolutely makes sense to grab the points with the Owls.

 

 

Spooky Express Pick: Rice Owls +5