The Western Michigan Broncos and the Rice Owls will face each other tonight in the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game kicks off at 8:00pm ET and will be broadcast on the NFL Network. College bowl picks at BetUS.com have the Owls listed as a -3 favorite.
Rice made a tremendous turnaround this year under second year Head Coach David Bailiff. Last year's Owl team went just 3-9, but Bailiff got the most of his 16 returning starters and guided his squad to a 9-3 record this season. Rice also finished 7-1 in Conference USA play and finished in second place in the West division behind Tulsa.
The Owls have one of the more prolific offenses in the country and their 41.6 point per game average is testament to their ability to move the ball. The Rice passing attack produced 327.8 yards per game as quarterback Chase Clement threw for 3812 yards and 41 touchdowns. Dynamic receiving duo James Casey and Jaret Dillard also combined for 183 receptions, 2441 yards, and 31 touchdowns.
Western Michigan had a big turnaround this season as well, going from 5-7 last year to 9-3 this season. Like the Owls, the Broncos used the experience of a large number of returning starters (17) to progress on the girdiron. Head Coach Bill Cubit, in his fourth year at Western Michigan, led his team to a 6-2 conference record and a third place finish in the MAC's West division.
The Broncos also possess a productive passing game, as they posted 301.2 passing yards per contest this year. Junior quarterback Tim Hiller, who amassed a 148.43 passer rating in the regular season, threw for 3527 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Texas Bowl Betting Trend: Western Michigan is 3-7 straight up in their last 10 games as an underdog with a total of 54.5 or more.
Western Michigan +3 (-110), Over 74 (-110), +130 (Money line)
Rice Owls -3 (-110), Under 74 (-110), -150 (Money line)
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