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The Rice Owls (5-7) will play the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (6-6) during the 2022 LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday evening. NCAAF handicapper Matt MacKay is here with his prediction.

Southern Miss vs. Rice Prediction, Pick, Odds: Can Rice Upset Southern Miss in the LendingTree Bowl?

Points could be a rarity during the 2022 LendingTree Bowl on Saturday evening. The Rice Owls enter the bowl game with a sub.500 record, while Southern Miss managed to get one more win in the final week of the regular season to end a three-game losing slump and solidify a berth in this particular bowl game. Neither team will have to travel too far to arrive at Hancock Whitney Stadium, located in Mobile, Alabama.

Southern Miss is led by Frank Gore Jr., son of famous veteran NFL running back Frank Gore Sr., who has racked up over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,200 scrimmage yards as the Golden Eagles' best player on offense. They are led by second-year head coach Will Hall, who took the Golden Eagles from a 3-9 record in 2021 to a 6-6 record in 2022. Southern Miss will represent the Sun Belt West division, which was loaded with talented teams such as Troy and South Alabama, with the former taking home the Conference title in a rout of Coastal Carolina. The Golden Eagles have a stout defense but a lethargic offense, as junior quarterback Trey Lowe III is the latest signal-caller, helping Southern Miss notch a 20-10 win over Louisiana-Monroe during the final week of the regular season.

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Rice will represent the Conference USA West division, which had UTSA dominate the division to the tune of an 11-2 record. The Owls are led by fifth-year head coach Mike Bloomgren, who is slowly but surely turning the program around. 2022 was the first time in his tenure that Rice reached a five-win regular season. Freshman quarterback AJ Padgett is handling signal-calling duties for the Owls, who nearly pulled off a big win over North Texas in the final game of the regular season. Their previous two games were blowout losses at the hands of Western Kentucky and UTSA, which is nothing to be ashamed of, considering how dominant both programs were within the conference in 2022.

Will the Owls overcome one of the worst defenses in the LendingTree Bowl? Or will the Golden Eagles' 44th-ranked scoring defense stomp out any aspirations that Rice and Bloomgren have toward winning on Saturday night? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds ahead of Saturday evening's matchup between the Rice Owls vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

Southern Miss vs. Rice Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, December 17
  • Game Time: 5:45 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN

Southern Miss vs. Rice Odds

  • Spread: Rice +7 (-115), Southern Mississippi -7 (-105)
  • Total: Under 46 (-105), Over 46 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Rice (+210), Southern Mississippi (-250)
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Southern Miss vs. Rice Injury Report


No injuries to report.

Southern Mississippi

QB Ty Keyes (Out - Undisclosed)

Southern Miss vs. Rice Prediction

Oddsmakers are favoring Southern Miss by a touchdown in this particular matchup, but the juice is on Rice to cover +7 at -115. This indicates that the Owls might not be good enough to win outright, considering its +215 moneyline odds, however, the offense could find some rhythm and keep it a one-possession game. As bad as Rice's defense has played, they are still profitable against the spread, going 7-5 overall this season.

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Southern Miss has a great defense that tends to bail out a sputtering offense. It's the opposite problem that Rice faces, but it's not like the Owls have a prolific offense to counter the sluggish, run-centric scheme run by Bloomgren. The Golden Eagles have attempted 33 to 59 carries in each of its last four games played, but the last two games netted zero rushing touchdowns. This is a problem for a one-dimensional offense that relies on Gore to carry the load. Perhaps against Rice, which allows over 33 points per game to opponents on average, quarterback Trey Lowe III can find a rhythm and gain confidence throwing against the Owls' porous secondary.

Turnovers are a huge issue for Rice, as they have recorded at least two on offense in its last four games played. This includes a four-interception outing against Western Kentucky, while also being held to 0.2 YPC on 32 carries against UTSA. Yes, this occurred against some of the best defenses in Conference USA, but the Owls lack an identity and haven't won a game outright since the first week of November when they won 37-30 over UTEP.

The Golden Eagles are not nearly as prone to turnovers, but they are good at forcing them on defense. Rice tends to favor a run-centric approach, which plays right into the hands of Southern Miss' defense, as it hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in its past two games played. They can, however, get beat through the air, but Padgett has only started two games and has yet to throw for more than one touchdown. He also lacks mobility, which would be a great asset to possess in this matchup.

Rice has won the past two head-to-head matchups in 2021 and 2020, winning as 1.5-point favorites each time. Yes, Southern Miss has a better defense, but its offense is still lackluster, ranking as the 94th-scoring offense in the country. Rice is 86th on offense and its numbers are skewed due to the stiff competition it faced in the final three weeks of the regular season. Since Southern Miss has failed to cover the spread in each of its last four games played in Alabama, which is the site of the LendingTree Bowl, let's ride the Owls at +7 in what projects to be a low-scoring bowl game on Saturday night.

Southern Miss vs. Rice Pick

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Article Author


Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.

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