Penn State vs. Rutgers Odds, Picks: Target This Big Ten Total

Penn State vs. Rutgers Odds, Picks: Target This Big Ten Total article feature image

John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Pickett

Penn State vs. Rutgers Odds

Tuesday, Jan. 24
6:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Penn State Odds
-114o / -106u
Rutgers Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have one of the toughest at-home environments in the country and host the Penn State Nittany Lions on Tuesday evening.

Rutgers is coming off a road loss at Michigan State on Thursday, while Penn State beat Nebraska last time out.

These two teams play at exceptionally slow paces. The Scarlet Knights rank 271st in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom, while the Nittany Lions rank 283rd. Each team slows the ball down on both offense and defense.

Rutgers, however, has a top-five Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, while Penn State ranks 25th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (KenPom).

Although the Nittany Lions do not have the defensive prowess the Scarlet Knights maintain, this should be a fairly common Rutgers-style basketball game.

Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State constantly fires from beyond the 3-point arc. Jalen Pickett is the only consistent threat inside the arc. The Nittany Lions rank sixth in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage at almost 40% and rank 11th in 3-point attempt percentage.

Rutgers does allow a ton of 3s (42.5%), but opponents are shooting horribly from deep on the Scarlet Knights at a paltry 29.6%. In addition, they tank 46th in open 3 rate, per Shot Quality.

Rutgers does have a strong defense on the interior. The Scarlet Knights essentially force opponents outside the arc. They rank sixth in points per possession (PPP) when teams are at the rim (Shot Quality), and they rank 41st in off-the-dribble 3-pointer PPP.

This should restrict much of the Nittany Lions' attack.

Pickett ranks first in points per game at 17.4. He has taken 60 3s on the year, but he's 113-for-205 on 2s because of his ability to post up for a guard.

Unfortunately for him, Rutgers holds opponents to 43.6% on 2-pointers this year.

The Nittany Lions will likely have to find an alternative scorer, which could be Seth Lundy (13.8 PPG) or Andrew Funk (13 PPG). No one else on Penn State averages more than nine points per game.

It's a small sample size (74 shots), but Jalen Pickett seems to have improved as a finisher at the rim.

Up to 72% at the basket this season after 55% last year at Penn State and basically the same during his three years at Siena. UDFA/2-way/Summer League prospect for me.

— Wilko (@wilkomcv) January 18, 2023

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers has a phenomenal defense, but ranks just 46th in the country in rebounding percentage. Penn State ranks 361st in offensive rebounding, but 48th in offensive rebound percentage against.

This should help negate the offensive put-backs from the Scarlet Knights. With that being the case, neither team should allow many second chances.

Rutgers also has such an elite defense because it turns opponents over often at nearly 24%, which ranks 16th in the country.

Penn State is the best when it comes to protecting the ball, with only a 13.1% offensive turnover clip. Since Penn State only turns opponents over 14.8% of the time, expect there to not be too many chances for either team to get out in transition.

Penn State ranks 88th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, so fans should expect Rutgers to score, right? Fortunately, for under-backers, Rutgers is shooting 31.5% from 3-point range and 47.7% from 2-point range.

Penn State ranks fifth in PPP in the half-court, so since this game is going to be in the half-court without turnovers, it should close the gaps.

Photo By CBB Analytics

Penn State vs. Rutgers Betting Pick

Penn State is not a defensive juggernaut, but can slow the Scarlet Knights down and not turn the ball over. Rutgers should not allow Pickett to get going.

The Scarlet Knights may allow some 3s to the other Nittany Lion players, but will hold Penn State in check on the interior.

Neither team will turn over the other much, and each should rebound at a reasonable rate and refuse to yield second-chance points.

Add all that up and my recommended bet for this game is on the under at 129.5 (-106). I would play it to 128 (-110).

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