Rice football was a good bet for part of 2018, but a late-season surge had the Owls outperforming the expectations from those in Vegas.
For gamblers, not all teams are created equal. Last year’s 2018 Rice football squad went 2-11 in the regular season, making a bet against the Owls a lucrative one as the team underwent an extensive rebuild. Still, Rice made the oddsmakers in Vegas work. The Owls were 7-6 against the spread, covering in five of their last six games.
Let’s give Rice a pass through the first half of the season as they worked through a new scheme with new players and new coaches. The second half of the season provides evidence Rice began to outperform expectations of the oddsmakers who, supposedly, know the sport best.
Rice won their final game of the season against Old Dominion outright, despite being 7.5-point dogs. Other than that, Rice stayed within large margins against FIU, North Texas, Louisiana Tech and LSU — and they did it with a revolving door at the quarterback position as their passers suffered from a myriad of unfortunate injuries.
Over the second half of the season, Rice went 1-5 on the field and 5-1 against the spread. On a high level, that means the Owls consistently beat the oddsmakers’ expectations. As the saying goes, they didn’t build the casinos in the desert by chance.
Vegas has proven to be pretty good at gauging the difference between two teams on any given Saturday. They’re not often wrong and when they are, it usually isn’t by all that much. Here’s how Rice faired down the stretch against the spread.
|10/20||Florida Intl||23||Rice -19||4|
|10/27||North Texas||30||Rice -24||6|
|11/3||TX El Paso||2||Rice -8||-6|
|11/10||LA Tech||24||Rice -15||9|
|11/24||Old Dominion||7.5||Rice 14||21.5|
In 2019 Rice football will work on moving from covering the spread to winning on the field, but these trends should spur some optimism they’re heading in the right direction.
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