The Rice Owls will be looking for their eighth win of the season when they travel to Don Haskins Center to take on the UTEP Miners. Rice enters this game with a 7-10 record after losing to UTSA in its last game. Meanwhile, UTEP is 5-9 this season as it lost to North Texas in its last game. Now, both teams will be looking to improve on their respective records this Saturday.
Rice Gets Embarrassed By UTSA
Last season, the Rice Owls went 7-24 and looked like one of the worst teams in the country. This season, Rice has looked slightly better as the team has lost ten of its first 17 games. However, it is not just the fact that this team keeps losing games. Most of the team’s losses have been blowouts as nine of the team’s ten losses have been by double digits. Rice is coming into this game off of a disappointing loss to UTSA. In that game, Rice’s defense was terrible as the team gave up 95 points while letting UTSA shoot over 49% from the floor. However, with a worse opponent up next, look for Rice’s defense to play a bit better.
Rice is led by freshman guard Chris Mullins who has been fantastic in his first season with the program. This season, Mullins is currently leading the team in scoring with 13.0 points per game along with 2.4 assists. However, he has been a bit inefficient from the floor as he is shooting around 43% from the floor. As the best player on this year’s team, Mullins better start shooting the ball a bit better if Rice plans on winning this road game.
UTEP Loses Three Straight Games
Last season, the UTEP Miners went 11-20 and lost in the first round of its conference tournament to UTSA. This season, UTEP has been below average once again as the team has won five of its first 14 games. To make matters worse, the team has lost three straight games including a close road loss to a quality North Texas team in its last game. In that game, UTEP’s offense was awful as the team only scored 51 points on less than 37% shooting from the floor. With a trip home to face a much worse team, look for UTEP’s offense to play a lot better.
The UTEP Miners are led by sophomore guard Evan Gilyard who was solid on last year’s team. Last season, Gilyard was solid as he averaged 9.1 points per game along with 1.9 rebounds. However, he has managed to play even better this season as he is currently leading the team in scoring with 17.2 points per game along with 4.1 rebounds. As the best player on this year’s team, he better be at his best if UTEP plans on covering this spread.
- Miners are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.
- Miners are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
- Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Simply put, UTEP is the better team and should take care of business in this one. Rice is a bad team and although UTEP has also struggled this season, the team is pretty good at home. UTEP has the deeper and more talented roster and I think that the Miners will win this game comfortably and cover this spread as a result.
Full-Game Total Pick
In order for Rice to keep this game close, it will have to focus on stopping UTEP in transition. Although the team is 1-6 on the road this season, UTEP’s offense is not prolific by any means so Rice’s defense should play better in this game. I think this total is a bit too high so small lean to the under as a result.