Rice (@17.0) vs Army (@1.01)

Our Prediction:

Army will win

Rice – Army Match Prediction | 25-08-2019 18:00

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and producewinners on a consistent basis.

Elijah Riley and Jaylon McClinton return to lead an Army Secondary and Cole Christiansen leads the front seven for a Black Knights defense that finished top-10 in multiple major defensive stat categories last season, including 8th in the country in total defense and 10th in scoring defense. is back at QB for the Black Knights after becoming the first player in program history to surpass 1,000 yards rushing and passing in a single season. Kelvin Hopkins Jr. The Army Black Knights come into the 2019 season looking to build off of a second straight double-digit win season, posting an 11-2 record and culminating their season with a second straight win in the Armed Forced Bowl, this time with a 70-14 rout of Houston, the Black Knights third consecutive bowl victory in as many years. Defensively, the Black Knights allowed 295.3 yards of total offense and 17.7 points per game last season. As a team, Army averaged 392.7 yards of total offense including 312.6 rushing yards per game which was 2nd in the country, as well as scoring 32.8 points per game. The Black Knights lost the services of Darnell Woolfolk and Andy Davidson, but bring back a pair of seniors in Connor Slomka and Kell Walker to take over the duties in the backfield for this coming season.

The favorite is 3-0-1 ATS in the last 4 meetings between these two teams. Army is 7-3-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against C-USA while the over is 19-7 in their last 26 games against C-USA. Rice is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall while the over is 8-1 in their last 9 games against independents.

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The plus side for Rice is that the trio of receivers in Austin Trammell, Aaron Cephus and tight end Jordan Myers is back to help handle some of the offensive workload this season. Defensively, Elijah Garcia has his hands full up front after Rice lost two of their top D-linemen from last season but the linebacking corps brings back Blasze Alldredge, Treshawn Chamberlain and Anthony Ekpe to help improve a defense that finished last in C-USA, allowing 36 points per game last season. Rices top two rushers from last season are gone, leaving the backfield duties up to Juma Otoviano and Nahshan Ellerbe. Wiley Green is expected to take the reins following Shawn Stankavages graduation last season. The Rice Owls come into the 2019 season looking to bounce back and record the programs first winning season since 2014 after finishing the regular season with an abysmal 2-11 mark where the Owls lone wins came against an FCS team and a victory over Old Dominion in the final week that sandwiched an 11-game losing streak while also failing to score more than 29 points against any FBS opponent last season. Green threw for 621 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions including a 313-yard passing game at home against UTEP last season, which also happened to be the closest margin of defeat for the Owls during their losing streak last season. As a team, Rice averaged 318.4 points and 18.9 points per game while allowing 446.2 yards of total offense and 36 points per game last season.

Now there are expectations, and now the spotlight is on for a team thats supposed to be good enough to push for at least ten wins. Just how good is this years Army team going to be? With Michigan coming up next, this is the tune-up moment against a Rice squad thats looking for anything positive to kick things off.

That matchup is why my composite ratings favor Army by only 6 points when my overall team ratings would favor the Cadets by 12 points. The match up also supplies some value towards the Under. Thats about as much value as a matchup could possibly provide but I still only lean with Rice plus the points. My overall ratings of these two teams would favor Army to cover in this game but my model takes into account matchups and Armys option attack will not take full advantage of Rices atrocious pass defense. The Owls are 1.9 yards per pass play worse than average defending the pass but theyre actually about average against the run, which is why they match up favorably with an Army attack that runs the ball 84% of the time.

Army did have quite a few close calls last season, but the Black Knights also hung on the road with Oklahoma. I just dont see Rice having the answers to stop the Army option offense, so Ill lay the points with Army at home here. Rice couldnt stop teams from scoring last season, and now have an inexperienced offense that is tasked to go score for score with one of the top rushing attacks in the country. Getting this many points in the opening game of the season is tempting as new guys are still trying to get their feet wet in a big setting, but the fact that this line is so thick just goes to speak to the gap thats between Rice and Army right now.

Conference USA

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Against Army, the biggest key is simply keeping its offense off the field. Rice has to keep the ball for at least 35 minutes. The Owls might be a running team, but they have the receivers to potentially give the Army secondary a few problems. The Knights hang on to the ball for around 38 minutes, the defense stays rested, and the formula works.