The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-1, 2-2 ATS, 2-2 O/U) meet with the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, 2-2 ATS, 2-2 O/U) in a Big Ten bout on Saturday evening. The Scarlet Knights had trouble generating offense in a home loss against Iowa in their previous action. The Buckeyes resumed their dominance in a home win against Wisconsin last week. The Buckeyes clobbered Rutgers 52-13 last season.
Rutgers Falls to Iowa in First Loss of Season
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are looking to rebound from their first defeat of the season. They recorded a minor upset win in the season opener, defeating Boston College 22-21 in a game that had the Knights as nine-point dogs. Next, they defeated Wagner and Temple to improve to 3-0 and were nine-point dogs in a 27-10 home loss against Iowa last week. Rutgers has covered the points in two of their four games.
Rutgers has used two QBs led by Evan Simon. The sophomore only attempted 15 passes against Temple but went 28 for 49 with a remarkable 300 passing yards against Iowa. Simon has collected 566 passing yards along with a 3:2 TD to INT ratio on the season.
The offense has used four different RBs this season. Kyle Monangai has received the most carries and has been mediocre, collecting 157 yards on an average of 3.7 yards per rush. They only have one received with at least 10 catches in Aron Cruickshank. The senior WR only has 156 receiving yards on the year. The Rutgers offense has only scored a total of 26 points in their last two games.
The Scarlet Knights' defense is a big reason they are 3-1. They held Temple to only 16 points in week three and despite giving up 27 points last week, they limited the Hawkeyes to just 277 total yards. The pass defense ranks 35th in the FBS while the rush defense is among the best, placing second.
Rutgers is averaging 28.5 points on the year, landing them 84th. The defense is conceding an average of only 17.3 points, tabbing them 25th in the country.
Buckeyes Resume Dominance against Wisconsin
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes are living up to the hype so far. They are considered a legit championship contender and have made easy work of their four opponents. Ohio State beat a Notre Dame squad that was ranked at the time by a 21-10 score in the season opener. The following two bouts were against mid-major squads. Last week, the Buckeyes were favored by 19 points in a 52-21 home win against Wisconsin of the Big Ten. OSU has covered the points in two of their four games.
C.J. Stroud continues to dominate. The junior QB has reached at least 280 passing yards in three consecutive games including 281 yards against Wisconsin last week. Stroud has accumulated a remarkable 1222 passing yards accompanied by a dazzling 16:1 TD to INT ratio.
The Buckeyes are difficult to contain on the ground as well. They have three RBs capable of big yardage led by Treveyon Henderson. The sophomore RB is definitely one of the top running backs in the Big Ten. He has accrued 319 rushing yards while Miyan Williams is just behind with 308. Marvin Harrison Jr. has already surpassed last year’s receiving total. The sophomore WR has brought in over 100 yards in two out of his last three games and has registered 388 yards on the season. The Ohio State offense has eclipsed 40 points in three consecutive performances.
The Buckeyes' stifling defense was outstanding against Wisconsin last week, conceding only 296 total yards. They were playing without top cornerbacks Cam Brown and Denzel Burke. They are questionable for this one. The pass defense ranks 22nd while the rush defense is at 38th. OSU remained at #3 in this week's AP Top 25 rankings.
Ohio State is posting an average of 48.8 points, good for third overall. The defense is holding foes to only 16 points, positioning them 22nd in the FBS.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are having trouble generating points. They only managed to score 16 points against a subpar Temple squad two weeks ago and registered 10 points against a good Iowa defense last week. Ohio State is possibly the best team in the FBS. They simply have too many weapons and this large spread is more than justified. Wisconsin is considering a top-five team in the Big Ten, and the Buckeyes just beat the Badgers by 31 points last week, making this spread more than reasonable.
Furthermore, Rutgers depends on the running game heavily. This is not ideal considering the Buckeyes' rush defense is spectacular, limiting foes to 111 rushing yards per game. Rutgers has a good defense but can be exploited in the air. They have really only played against one pass-heavy team so far and struggled, conceding 283 passing yards against Boston College QB Phil Jurkovec. OSU has a Heisman candidate in QB C.J. Stroud who already has 1600 passing yards.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect this one to go under considering Rutgers' offense. The Scarlet Knights are going to struggle offensively once again this week. QB Evan Simon only has 566 passing yards and is inexperienced. The Buckeyes stifling defense limited Notre Dame to only 10 points and 21 points on 296 yards against a good Wisconsin offense.
In addition, while Ohio State will succeed offensively, Rutgers has a good defense. The rush defense ranks second in the entire FBS and ninth in total yards allowed per game. The Scarlet Knights and Buckeyes run more than pass and there will be some lengthy drives as a result. The under is 9-4 in the Scarlet Knights' last 13 conference games.