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Stanford

vs.

Rice

College Football Pick

8/26/17

This game is uncharted territory for both teams playing in Sydney, Australia, but that’s not stopping Stanford from being a -31 point favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook. In the Australia game last year, Cal took down Hawaii 51-30, so a similar blowout is expected.

These teams met late last season with the Cardinal winning 41-17 in Palo Alto. It wasn't expected to be a close game, but Rice still walked away covering by 10 points as Stanford was -34. That’s reason enough to consider the Owls in this game, at least to cover the spread.

It’s projected to be another long season for Rice with questions remaining at quarterback. Sam Glaesmann was named the starter for this game and he’s the only one on the roster that doesn’t have collegiate experience. That said, backup Jackson Tyner was just 10-of-37 for 68 yards in this meeting last year. The Owls used a decent ground game to put on 167 yards and a couple touchdowns and with four starters back on the line, they’ll take that same approach. Samuel Stewart (13 carries, 77 yards) should see even more carries than that last meeting and if Rice can find room on the ground, that may be enough to cover.

Stanford will survive via defense this year, which is nothing new for David Shaw’s teams. The problem for Rice is that the front seven should be the Cardinal’s best part on the defensive side with the secondary bit more of a question. Still, it wouldn't be surprising if Rice ran the ball well again with experience on the line.

Stopping Stanford is another story, but similar to Rice, the Cardinal aren’t exactly a great passing team. They got to 41 points from Christian McCaffrey on the ground with 204 yards on 30 carries. Sure, Keller Chryst only attempted 16 passes, but that’s how this offense works and that's not a great recipe for blowing out teams. Rice returns three starters on the defensive line, so that could help some, as well.

Bryce Love will take over for McCaffrey in the backfield while Chryst is set to start even after tearing his ACL in last year’s Sun Bowl. In his first real game since then, it’s hard to see Shaw asking Chryst to air it out, which is another reason to back Rice.

Stanford didn’t win a game by more than 25 points last season and there’s no reason to think they’ll do so this year with the same type of team led by a quarterback that just tore his ACL. Throw in Love instead of McCaffrey in the backfield and the Cardinal will continue having trouble moving the ball on offense.

The Owls aren’t a good team, but should at least move the ball a bit better this season with an experienced offensive line and the running backs to help. If they can get any help from the quarterback position, then they’ll be looking at a bowl. As for Stanford, they’ll look to run as much as possible and hope the defense does the rest.

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Our model predicts Stanford to win big and cover the huge number in this spot. Considering both squads are largely intact from a year ago, we can put some merit in the models prediction here.

However, laying 31 points is something we'll rarely do. Add in the fact that this game is on the other side of the world and we have to pass as far as the side goes here.

Instead, we'll go OVER the posted total of 50.5 here as our model says 60+ will be scored. OVER 50.5

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