College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Rutgers vs. DePaul: Can the Blue Demons Take a Step Forward?
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
- Rutgers takes on DePaul in the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big Ten and Big East.
- The Scarlet Knights have looked shaky to start the season despite returning Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down the teams and where the value lies.
Rutgers vs. DePaul Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
On the third night of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will travel to Chicago to take on the DePaul Blue Demons.
Considering how bad DePaul has been in recent years, this feels like a good spot for Rutgers. However, the Big East has been dominating the Big Ten this week.
Moreover, the Big Ten has been struggling at large in non-conference play. The conference is just 11-16 against the spread (ATS) so far this season.
The Scarlet Knights are laying 2.5 points in this battle. But is it worth laying points with another flailing Big Ten team?
I was high on Rutgers before the season started. The return of Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. — combined with a good defense — had me thinking Steve Pikiell would continue his run of success.
While they’re 3-0, it hasn’t looked pretty for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers has yet to cover this season, all against teams that rank outside the top 200 in KenPom’s ratings. Moreover, the Scarlet Knights managed to score just 48 points against Merrimack, luckily holding the opposition to 35.
However, that’s how Rutgers plays. It is always excellent on the defensive end, having ranked among the top 15 in defensive efficiency in both of the last two seasons.
But offensively, I’m not sure where the Scarlet Knights are going to generate points outside of Harper. While Baker and Cliff Omoruyi are both also averaging over 10 points per game, this offense has taken a step back without Jacob Young.
All-in-all, the Scarlet Knights have scored just .792 points per possession through their first two games, which ranks in the 26th percentile of Division I teams.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be a struggle to score points all season for Rutgers. The defense will carry them — the Scarlet Knights have allowed just .709 PPP through their first two games (84th percentile) — but Harper needs to score 20+ on offense for them to win.
Ron Harper Jr. is a double-double machine‼️
3 games, 3 double-doubles.
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) November 17, 2021
DePaul was a school in disarray. The Blue Demons won just five games last season and they have finished last or tied for last in the Big East in six straight seasons.
Tony Stubblefield stepped in and took over a DePaul roster that returned one starter and just 33.7% of last season’s minutes.
However, Stubblefield has the Blue Demons playing decent basketball right now. While they’ve played two teams outside the top 300 in KenPom’s ratings, DePaul covered the spread in both games.
The Blue Demons have been especially good on the interior. They rank among the top-30 nationally in both 2-point shooting offense and 2-point shooting defense, while ranking top-5 in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate.
Returning combo guard Javon Freeman-Liberty has been incredibly hot, averaging 23.5/8.5/7.5 through the three games. Plus, second-year freshmen David Jones has been a solid stretch four, averaging 13 rebounds per game while shooting 37.5% from deep.
— WeAreDePaul.com (@WeAreDePaul) November 15, 2021
It’s obviously very early, and this will be the Blue Demons’ first real test. But maybe Stubblefield is on to something with this team.
Rutgers vs. DePaul Betting Pick
DePaul has been a bad basketball team for a long time. But, maybe something has started to flip with Stubblefield at the helm.
With the Blue Demons catching points at home against a Big Ten team, that has to be the bet. I can’t resist betting on a home dog, but I believe this one has value.
Rutgers will play solid defensively, but its offensive trio hasn’t been as effective as DePaul’s (Freeman-Liberty, Jones and Brandon Johnson). I’m surprised to say that DePaul has a higher offensive ceiling than Rutgers.
Both teams have played low-major competition in the early season, but Rutgers is 0-3 ATS while DePaul is 2-0. I believe the Blue Demons are playing better basketball right now.
However, the line is currently hovering around 2.5 at the time of this writing. I’m going to wait and hope I get DePaul +3. But if you find that number, wager away.