Rice Owls at Arkansas Razorbacks (ESPN+/SECN+)
Saturday, Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. ET; Razorback Stadium; Fayetteville, Ark.
Line: Arkansas -19.5; Over/Under: 50
Moneyline: Arkansas -1150; Rice +740
Very few people did a more impressive job than Sam Pittman did with the Arkansas Razorbacks last year. When he beat Tennessee football, it was the most telling sign of how much the Vols were struggling as a program under Jeremy Pruitt. Pittman had the same coaching style, was two years behind and inherited a bigger mess.
We’re saying this despite his 3-7 record, but in an all-SEC season, that’s impressive. Because of that, entering this year, the Hogs have some cautious optimism. They have a great chance to increase that optimism tenfold this week.
Arkansas will host a Rice Owls team led by fourth-year head coach Mike Bloomgren, who hasn’t yet had a winning season there. Expectations are a bit higher this year, and this is a chance for him to prove his program has taken a step.
Both coaches here want to prove their programs have made a huge leap, but only one coach has proven he can do it after last year. As a result, our money is on Arkansas to not just win but cover. The line isn’t being fair to the Hogs. They will dominate and score at will. In fact, it will be enough for this game to hit the over.
Arkansas: 48 Rice: 7 (Arkansas -19.5; Over 50)