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Clemson vs. Rutgers Betting Odds: Spread, Analysis & Pick For 2021 NCAA Tournament First Round

Clemson vs. Rutgers Betting Odds: Spread, Analysis & Pick For 2021 NCAA Tournament First Round article feature image

John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Aamir Simms.

  • Rutgers is a short favorite over Clemson in the 2021 NCAA Tournament first round in what should be one of the weekend's biggest defensive struggles.
  • The Tigers have played at an elite level on defense since the beginning of February -- arguably better than anyone else in the country -- and has the personnel to match up with the Scarlet Knights.
  • Get full odds and our early analysis for Clemson vs. Rutgers below.

#7 Clemson vs. #10 Rutgers Odds

Rutgers Odds-1.5
Clemson Odds+1.5
TimeFriday, 9:20 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday and via BetMGM.

Every year on Selection Sunday, there’s a crop of teams that bettors and fans can’t wait to pick against. Clemson and Rutgers were likely atop that list for many this season … until the committee paired them up against one another in the first round. Rutgers is 8-10 since January 1. Clemson is 7-6 since mid-January. These are not the hottest teams in this bracket, to say the least, but one is guaranteed to play in the Round of 32.

Clemson’s defense should line up nicely against Rutgers. The Tigers allow a ton of 3s — their opponents have the highest 3-point rate in the ACC. Rutgers, however, is not a team built to take advantage. The Scarlet Knights have shot just 31.1 percent from distance this year, including a dismal 25.8 percent in their last nine games. That’s too large a sample size to bet Rutgers and pray for regression. It’s more likely indicative of offensive issues. — Shane McNichol

How Clemson & Rutgers Match Up

All stats via KenPom.

What To Know About Clemson

Since Feb. 1, no team has had a better adjusted defensive efficiency than Clemson, per Torvik Rank.

The Tigers had won six of their past seven games before being bounced by 13-seed Miami in the ACC Tournament. A 16-2 run by the Hurricanes with 12 minutes left to play was led by 59% shooting inside the arc, uncharacteristic for a Clemson defense that ranks in the top 100 in 2-point shooting.

Brad Brownell’s squad is not known for being an offensive powerhouse but over the past five weeks, the Tigers are third in effective field goal percentage, led by the best shooting percentage from 3-point territory at 41.1%. Even in a loss to Miami, the Tigers shot 12-of-23 from beyond the arc. An opponent with a weak perimeter defense would be ideal for Clemson.

Do not expect any free throws from Brownell’s roster, as it ranks 335th in offensive free-throw rate.

The defense is outstanding, but the shots need to be falling (and Aamir Siims needs to shine) for Clemson to make a bit of a run as they will likely be involved in many close, low-scoring grinders. — Collin Wilson

What To Know About Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights go through their dynamic duo of Ron Harper Jr. and Jacob Young offensively, as pair averages a combined 29.8 points per game.

Rutgers’ bread and butter this season has been a defense that ranks 18th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. It helps to have two massive rim protectors in Myles Johnson and Cliff Omoruyi, but Rutgers can lock down everywhere on the court.

Rutgers’ experience (Harper and Johnson are juniors and Young is a senior) will be a big boost down come March. However, what will likely hold them back from a deep run is its inconsistent offense, which goes on too many droughts. It’s tough to win in March when you shoot 31.1% from 3 (291st) and 63.2% from the line (332nd).

If Rutgers could ever consistently hit outside shots and free throws, it could make a run to the Final Four. The Scarlet Knights just haven’t shown me enough to trust them to do that for four straight games. — Stuckey

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