NCAA Football Report (Saturday, Aug 26)

Steve Merril | Aug 26, 2017 | ARCHIVE

Saturday, August 26th

NCAA Football

Rice vs. Stanford - 10 pm ET (ESPN)

This game is being played on a neutral field in Sydney, Australia.  It is the second year in a row that a Pac-12 school has participated in this game; California won 51-31 as a 20-point favorite versus Hawaii last year.  Rice finished last season with a 41-17 loss at Stanford as a 35-point road underdog, so this is a quick rematch.  The Owls were out rushed 373-167 in that game (8.7-4.3 ypr) and overall Rice had a terrible run defense last season, allowing 217 rushing yards per game on 5.5 ypr (versus opponents that averaged just 4.8 yards per rush).

While Stanford holds a substantial physical edge in this game, the pointspread is high.  My power ratings only favor Stanford by 29 points and the Cardinal might come with a conservative, vanilla game plan since they have two big road games at USC and San Diego State on deck.  The Cardinal only averaged 26.3 points per game last season and they went 1-3 ATS as a double-digit favorite, including their non-covering 24-point win versus Rice at home.  The Owls should be an improved team this season with 15 returning starters.  Stanford briefly opened as a -33.5 point favorite several months ago, then quickly came down to -31.5 when other books posted lines, and has now settled at -30.5.  The Over/Under total opened at 50.5, rose higher to 51.5, and has now come back down to 51 and 50.5.


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