LendingTree Bowl: Southern Mississippi vs Rice 12/17/22 College Football Picks, Predictions, Odds

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The Southern Miss Golden Eagles and Rice Owls clash Saturday, December 17 in the college football LendingTree Bowl from Hancock Whitney Stadium. Southern Miss managed to go 6-6 overall this year. The Golden Eagles beat LA-Monroe in their last outing. As for Rice, they’re 5-7 on the season after a loss to North Texas in their last game.

Southern Miss had a 3-3 stretch over their first six games this year. The wins in that time were over Northwestern State, Tulane and Arkansas State. Another 3-3 run came after that, featuring wins over Texas State, Louisiana and LA-Monroe. 

Back on November 26 versus LA-Monroe, the Eagles were tied up at 10-10 going into the final quarter. Southern Miss scored another 10 points from there in a 20-10 victory. Frank Gore Jr. did most of the offensive work with 199 rush yards and a score. 

Over on the Rice side, they were also 3-3 after six games, beating McNeese State, Louisiana and UAB. The next six games were a 2-4 run for the Owls. Rice lost to Charlotte, Western Kentucky, UTSA and North Texas in that time. 

In the North Texas game, Rice had things tied up at 14-14 going into the fourth quarter. The Eagles were outscored 7-3 in that frame for a 21-17 loss. QB AJ Padgett managed 229 yards with a TD and a pick. Juma Otoviano added 94 rush yards. 

Rice is 6-1 ATS in the last seven in December and 5-2 ATS in their last seven after a straight-up loss. The Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last five neutral-site games. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven non-conference games and 4-0 ATS in the last four on grass. Southern Miss is 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven bowl games. 

PICK: I’m probably staying with Southern Miss. The Eagles have some things to clean up after their last outing versus UL-Monroe, though. Southern Miss posted a solid 448-yard total but also went just 2-of-11 on third-down tries. The good news is that the Eagles have been scoring pretty well lately as a whole—they’ve hit 20 or more points in six of their last seven games.

As for Rice, they’ve looked pretty flat over the last three games. The Owls have a combined 34 points in that trio, going 0-3 along the way. If Rice can get the offense going I think they’ll stick around in this one but it’s probably still Southern Miss’ cover to take. 

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