ESPN College Football Week 1 Odds & Point Spread: Rice vs. Texas A&M Print
Written by Drew Sharper   
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 07:00
NCAAF Headline News

Rice vs. Texas A&M Odds

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COLLEGE STATION, TX (The Spread) – Will Johnny Manziel take the field when No. 7 Texas A&M hosts Rice on Saturday at 1PM ET on ESPN?

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The defending Heisman Trophy winner has given the Aggies high hopes for a strong 2013 season, but offseason distractions and allegations of payment for autographs have left Manziel’s status to start the season in doubt. Not much detail has emerged as of late and a suspension has not taken place. Some sportsbooks have yet to release odds on this game over concern of his status, while others expect him to be on the field come Saturday at 1 p.m. against a Rice team that went 7-6 in 2012 and 8-4-1 against the spread.

Trends show that Rice is 4-0 against the spread in its last 4 non-conference games but just 1-4 ATS in its last five games on grass. Texas A&M is 7-0 against the spread in its last 7 against Conference USA opponents but 0-4 ATS in its last four games in the month of August.

According to oddsmakers from Bovada.lv, Texas A&M is the clear favorite in this game, as the Aggies have odds of -31.5 points against Rice. The over/under odds for the contest have been set at 71.5 points. (View Matchup) The opening odds for this game had Texas A&M favored by 28 points. That was the lowest the spread was leading up to the game. It is currently at its peak with the Aggies favored by 31.5. The over/under total opened at 65 points, its lowest point. Its current 71.5 total is the highest it has been.

Rice put together its first winning season since 2008 last season. The Owls also picked up a bowl victory, beating Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. Rice averaged 31.8 points and 427 yards per game on offense a year ago and returns nine starters from that group, including quarterback Taylor McHargue, who threw for 2,209 yards and rushed for 667. The Owls also have a strong rushing attack that averaged over 200 yards per game in 2012. Defensively, the Owls struggled, allowing 30 points and 426 yards per game, but the unit has 10 starters back,

Texas A&M went 11-2 last season and 8-5 against the spread. The Aggies were an offensive force, averaging 44.5 points and 559 yards per game under new coach Kevin Sumlin. With or without Manziel, the Aggies should still be able to move the ball. Manziel totaled 3,706 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and 1,410 rushing yards with 21 scores in 2012. Mike Evans, a sophomore like Manziel, is also back at receiver after catching 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns last season. The A&M defense was respectable a year ago, allowing just 21.8 points per game despite giving up just under 400 yards per contest. A&M should be improved in the secondary, but the unit loses four starters in its front seven as it prepares to face a run-heavy Rice team.

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In terms of Injuries, Manziel is listed as questionable due to suspension but defensive lineman Kirby Ennis is suspended for the game. Aggies receiver Malcome Kennedy is questionable with an undisclosed injury. Rice comes into the contest healthy with no injuries to report.

The Public Bets for this game are currently unavailable due to the concerns over Manziel. Check the link throughout the week to get updates on the odds and public betting information on this game.

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