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NCAAF First Responder Bowl Betting Prediction: Texas State Bobcats vs. Rice Owls 12/26/2023

Texas State Bobcats (7-5) vs. Rice Owls (6-6)

As we approach Tuesday’s First Responder Bowl, the Texas State Bobcats and Rice Owls will compete in an exciting showdown that should provide plenty of entertainment for followers of NCAAF bowl daily picks. Set for 5:30 PM ET start time at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Houston and broadcast live on ESPN, this clash promises to showcase both sides’ depth and talent.

Behind TJ Finley’s 3287 passing yards and 24 touchdowns, Texas State has scored 30+ points in six games this year. Finley struggles with turnovers at times but has an array of weapons, including top wideout Joey Hobert. Running back Ismail Mahdi adds balance with his 1209 rushing yards and 10 scores. The Bobcats defense allows 26.5 points per game. Wide receiver Joey Hobert leads the unit with 847 yards. Texas State must avoid the slow starts that have plagued them this season.

The Rice offense goes as JT Daniels goes. The QB has thrown for 2443 yards and 21 touchdowns behind a shaky offensive line. His top target is Luke McCaffrey, who has 12 TD grabs this year. Running back Dean Connors offers a nice change of pace, averaging 6.7 yards per carry. The Owls defense has been solid, holding five opponents under 17 points. Safety Gabe Taylor is everywhere, racking up a team-leading 97 tackles. For Rice to pull the upset, Daniels must make quick decisions and take care of the football.


Texas State Bobcats vs. Rice Owls Game Info

When: Tuesday, December 26, 2023, at 5:30 PM ET
Where: Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Stream: Sofascore


TJ Finley QB vs. JT Daniels QB

TJ Finley has put together a strong debut season for the Bobcats. He’s thrown for 3,287 yards with 24 TDs and 8 interceptions. Finley is a dual threat, tallying 364 rush yards and 2 scores. He excels at improvising and buying time but will occasionally force throws into coverage. Finley must avoid the 0-3 turnover days that have plagued him. His legs give Texas State added versatility in the red zone.

Meanwhile, JT Daniels has given the Rice offense stability since transferring from Georgia. In his first year as a starter, Daniels has a 21-7 TD-INT ratio behind a shaky offensive line. He throws an accurate deep ball but prefers the short and intermediate pass game. Daniels doesn’t offer much mobility, so he relies on getting the ball out quick to avoid sacks. Limiting turnovers will be key for his success.


NCAAF Odds/Point Spread: Texas State Bobcats -220, Total Odds: 59

The betting odds favor the Texas State Bobcats, indicative of their stronger season performance. The point spread suggests a belief in the Bobcats’ ability to control the game, while the total odds point to an expectation of a high-scoring affair.


Texas State Bobcats Betting Trends

The Bobcats have struggled to cover spreads recently, going 2-5 ATS over their last 7 contests. However, Texas State has taken care of business as favorites, boasting an 8-2 straight up record over their previous 10 matchups when chalk. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the Bobcats’ last 5 games against Conference USA opponents. Additionally, Texas State is just 1-4 ATS over its last 5 non-conference tilts.


Rice Owls Betting Trends

The Owls have been strong against the number of late, covering spreads at an 8-3-1 clip over their past 12 outings. Totals have gone UNDER in 4 of Rice’s last 6 games. As underdogs this year, Rice has excelled, with a 5-1 ATS record in their previous 6 contests as the dog. The Owls are also 5-2 ATS over their last 7 December matchups. When facing Sun Belt foes, the over has hit in 5 of Rice’s last 5 games.


Texas State Bobcats vs. Rice Owls 12/26/23 Betting Picks

This bowl game presents a fascinating dynamic, with Texas State’s high-powered offense going up against Rice’s resilient and opportunistic play. The Bobcats’ offensive prowess, led by Finley, Mahdi, and Hobert, is poised to test the Owls’ defense. Conversely, Rice’s balanced attack, spearheaded by Daniels, Connors, and McCaffrey, could exploit any gaps in the Bobcats’ defense.

For bettors, the Bobcats appear to be the safer pick, especially considering their performance as favorites. However, Rice’s resilience, especially when playing as underdogs, cannot be overlooked. The over/under bet is a trickier proposition, given the contrasting styles of play, but leaning towards the OVER might be a viable option. For live betting enthusiasts, this game offers a range of dynamic betting opportunities as the game unfolds.


Free Pick and Prediction: Texas State Bobcats 33, Rice Owls 27

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