Stephen Nover's Free CBB Saturday Play
Rice vs. Middle Tennessee,
02/08/2020 18:00 EDT,
Score: 91 - 83
Point Spread: -1/-108 Middle Tennessee
I understand there are better things to do on a Saturday - or any other day of the week for that matter - than pay attention to a Rice-Middle Tennessee State basketball game.
But I see value backing Middle Tennessee State for these reasons: The Blue Raiders are home, in a good situational spot and Rice is very bad on the road.
The Blue Raiders were showing signs of getting turned around winning two of three after losing 11 in a row. But then they lost, 75-70, as 8 1/2-point home favorites to North Texas in their last game this past Thursday. North Texas hit 52 percent of its shots from the floor and the Blue Raiders missed 14 of 28 free throws. They are a 67 percent free throw shooting team.
Rice, meanwhile, just upset Alabama-Birmingham as seven-point road 'dogs two days ago. That was the Owls' second consecutive win.
Hence, early activity in the marketplace has brought this line down to the pick'em type range. I don't believe the line should be that tight, though. Rice hasn't won three straight games since mid-November. The Owls had dropped their previous six road contests before surprising the Blazers. Rice had lost its prior three away matchups by an average of 16.3 points.
The Owls average 66 points on the road, which is seven points fewer per game than their regular average.
Middle Tennessee State is a grinder type team that can frustrate Rice. I see that happening here.
(Editor's note: Stephen Nover is one of the top college basketball handicappers in the nation going 74-38-3 the past two seasons! Stephen has won his last nine CBB plays and has three premium plays going today in addition to this free selection. Don't miss any of Stephen's plays, all of which come with a must-win guaranteed and his own unique and highly-prized analysis.)