First Responder Bowl Prediction: Texas State vs. Rice Odds, Spread, DFS Picks, and More

    Who wins when Texas State and Rice clash on Tuesday? Step this way for the latest odds, DFS picks, and a First Responder Bowl prediction.

    What better way to spend the day after Christmas than with an extra helping of college football, and the 2023 SERVPRO First Responder Bowl serves us up an all-Texas treat as the 7-5 Texas State Bobcats take on the 6-6 Rice Owls.

    Who emerges victorious from the first clash between the two teams since 1987? Ahead of the game, we’ve got the latest college football betting odds, DFS picks, and a First Responder Bowl prediction.

    First Responder Bowl Betting and DFS Preview

    All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook and correct as of Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. Want to take advantage of the First Responder Bowl odds? Visit the College Football Network live college football odds page to place bets in your state.

    • Spread
      Texas State -5.5
    • Moneyline
      Texas State -225, Rice +185
    • Over/Under
      59.5 points
    • Game time
      5:30 p.m. ET
    • Location
      Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
    • Predicted Weather at Kick
      58 degrees, 10 mph winds, partial sunshine
    • How to Watch
      ESPN, FuboTV

    Looking to bet on the Bobcats? Ready to take a risk on Rice? If you’re going to take advantage of the First Responder Bowl odds, consider some of the following factors before you part with your hard-earned cash.

    They’ve met four times previously, splitting the series 2-2, but Rice and Texas State haven’t faced each other since 1987. A lot has changed since then, including the Bobcats emerging from college football mediocrity to earn bowl eligibility in their first season under G.J. Kinne. While it hasn’t all been plain sailing, their success has ensured they enter this game as the favorite.

    MORE: Top Players Not Playing in First Responder Bowl

    Usually, when Texas State wins, they also cover. The Bobcats have covered in five of their seven wins in the 2023 college football season, including twice as a single-digit favorite. That said, Rice has covered eight times this season, including twice as a single-digit underdog. Texas State should have the firepower to cover here but don’t rule out Rice having their say about that.

    Our First Responder Bowl prediction features a potential shootout, and both these teams are capable of providing offensive fireworks on their day. They’re an even 12-12 covering the points line this season, with Rice’s last three games coming under the line. In two of those, they faced anemic offenses, which is certainly something that can’t be leveled at Texas State.

    Top DFS Picks and Fantasy Plays

    Texas State Depth Chart | Rice Depth Chart 

    • QB TJ Finley, Texas State
    • QB AJ Padgett, Rice
    • RB Ismail Mahdi, Texas State
    • RB Donerio Davenport, Texas State
    • RB Jahmyl Jeter, Texas State
    • RB Juma Otoviano, Rice
    • RB Dean Connors, Rice
    • RB Ari Broussard, Rice
    • WR Joey Hobert, Texas State
    • WR Kole Wilson, Texas State
    • WR Ashtyn Hawkins, Texas State
    • WR Luke McCaffrey, Rice
    • WR Rawson MacNeill, Rice
    • WR Landon Ransom-Goelz, Rice
    • TE Konner Fox, Texas State
    • TE Jack Bradley, Rice

    There are three college football games on Tuesday to compile your DFS team from. If you’re new to DFS, Fanduel Superflex contests require you to select a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, and a “Superflex” that can be any of the above or a tight end.

    There are several contenders for your DFS lineup from this clash between Texas State and Rice. Your First Responder Bowl picks should start with Bobcats quarterback TJ Finley. The former Auburn dual-threat has tallied 246.72 fantasy points this season, throwing for over 3,000 yards while totaling 29 touchdowns by air and land. He has significant scoring potential in this game.

    MORE: College Football Bowl Game Opt-Out Tracker

    With Texas State having one of the worst scoring defenses in the country, Rice wide receiver Luke McCaffrey should be in line to add to his 178.4 fantasy points this year. He’s within sniffing distance of 1,000 yards and is a good bet to surpass that in the First Responder Bowl.

    The Bobcats have allowed 23 receiving touchdowns while only snagging six interceptions in 2023.

    There’s a great pair of running backs in action in the First Responder Bowl too. Dean Connors is an all-purpose back with over 1,000 scrimmage yards, but it’s Ismail Mahdi who is the true difference-maker and top-tier fantasy asset.

    His 1,485 scrimmage yards and 11 total touchdowns have earned him 210.6 points this year. Can a middling run defense hold him?

    Prediction for the First Responder Bowl

    Okay, so we’ve furnished you with the First Responder Bowl odds and some DFS picks. Now, it’s time to close this thing out with our prediction.

    Rice hasn’t won a bowl game since 2014, and Texas State hasn’t played in one during their FBS existence, so there’s plenty at stake when the two teams clash on Tuesday.

    Rice got to six wins this season after winning their final two games of the year, taking some momentum into bowl season. While J.T. Daniels led them to a significant win over Houston, backup AJ Padgett has carried them over the line and into this game.

    He’s completed more of his passes than Daniels and adds more value on the ground for this top-50 scoring offense.

    Between Padgett, WR McCaffrey, and a dangerous double-headed monster at the running back position, the Owls have the playmakers to trouble a Texas State defense that gave up over 30 points in each of their last three games — including 77 against Arkansas State.

    However, Rice has failed to score more than 28 points in four of their last five games.

    Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Kinne’s Bobcats. The CFN First-Year Head Coach of the Year has led the program to historic success, and the Texas State offense has pick-your-poison potential between Finley and a trio of wide receivers or being gashed on the ground by Mahdi.

    They’ve also held multiple teams under 30 points. Doing so here gives them the win.

    Prediction: Texas State 35, Rice 28

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