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Michigan vs. Rutgers Odds and Pick: Focus on the Over/Under in Saturday’s Big Ten Showdown (Nov. 21)

Credit:

Leon Halip/Getty Images. Pictured: Jim Harbaugh.

  • After an interesting first few games, Rutgers hosts Michigan in Piscataway on Saturday. Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are looking to get back on track after a rough start to the season, while Greg Schiano is trying to right the Scarlet Knights' ship.
  • Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting analysis with updated odds below.

Michigan vs. Rutgers Odds

Michigan Odds -10.5 [BET NOW]
Rutgers Odds +10.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -400/+300 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 55.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Big Ten Network
Odds as of Thursday afternoon and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines have hit rock bottom after losing 49-11 at home to Wisconsin on Saturday night. The Wolverines have shown no life whatsoever after their opening win at Minnesota. However, they have a fantastic opportunity to get back on track against Rutgers on Saturday night in Piscataway.

After beating Michigan State in the opener, everyone thought Greg Schiano had Rutgers football out of the dumpster. Since then, the Scarlet Knights have lost three straight.

Last weekend’s game against a short-handed Illinois was a measuring stick game to evaluate if the Rutgers program was really back. The 23-20 loss showed that Rutgers still has a long way to go before getting out of the bottom of the Big Ten.

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Michigan Wolverines

Offense

Up until the Wisconsin game, Michigan’s offense hadn’t been the problem. Before the blowout, the Wolverines were gaining 6.65 yards per play with most of their success coming through the air.

Joe Milton hasn’t been as bad as you’d think. He’s averaging 7.7 yards per attempt and has thrown for over 300 yards twice already this season. Nonetheless, earlier this week Harbaugh opened up the quarterback competition between Milton and Cade McNamara. Whoever starts at quarterback will be facing one of the worst pass defenses they’ve faced all season long. Rutgers has allowed 8.5 yards per attempt this year.

Coming into the 2020 season, the run game was supposed to be the strength of the Wolverines. However, they haven’t utilized their tandem running backs of Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet enough. The duo has combined to rush for 7.68 yards per carry and four touchdowns. For Michigan to be successful, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis will likely need to lean on his run game a lot on Saturday night to help Milton or McNamara be more effective in the passing game.

Defense

Michigan returned only 49% of its defensive production from 2019, and so far, it’s showed. Dom Brown’s defense has been completely unable to stop the run, ranking 79th in Defensive Rushing Success, 122nd Power Success allowed, and 117th in Defensive Line Yards, per College Football Data.

Michigan has also struggled to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Wolverines have secured only six sacks and two turnovers while ranking 123rd in the country in Havoc, per College Football Data. Rutgers is an improved offense from last season, so Michigan may have a tough time stopping Schiano’s offense on Saturday night.


Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Offense

The Scarlet Knights have improved year over year, although that may not be saying much. In 2019, Rutgers was 124th in Rushing Success and 125th in Passing Success, according to College Football Data. So far this year, Rutgers has improved those numbers to an 89th-place rank in both categories.

The biggest strength of the Rutgers offense has been its rushing attack. The Scarlet Knights are gaining 3.8 yards per carry and rank ninth in Power Success Rate. Isaih Pacheco has been the main man in the backfield. The junior averages 5.2 yards per attempt and torched Illinois last week for 133 yards. New offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson will likely lean on his run game on Saturday, as Nebraska transfer Noah Vedral has not been getting the job done in the passing game.

Vedral beat out Artur Sitkowski for the starting job but has not been much better. He’s throwing for only 5.6 yards per attempt and has thrown seven interceptions in his first four games. He doesn’t have much of a receiving corps to throw to at the moment, so I expect Rutgers to try to run the ball as much as it possibly can on Saturday.

Defense

Bringing back Schiano meant the Scarlet Knights were going to instantly improve on the defensive side of the ball. However, it hasn’t been a drastic improvement so far. Instead of ranking in the bottom 10 in Defensive Success, the Scarlet Knights have graduated to 99th in the country.

Rutgers has been terrible against the pass, ranking 117th in the country in Defensive Passing Success (College Football Data) and allowing 8.5 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks. The secondary was supposed to be improved with both starters returning at cornerback and the addition of Ohio State transfer Brendon White, but that hasn’t been the case thus far.

Rutgers has all new faces on the defensive line, and — along with its struggles against the pass — the defense has also struggled against the run. The Scarlet Knights are allowing 4.3 yards per rush attempt and rank 97th in Defensive Rushing Success (College Football Data). If Gattis can lean on his run game, Rutgers is going to have a tough time containing Haskins and Charbonnet.


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Betting Analysis & Pick

Michigan seemingly only knows how to play in high-scoring games in 2020.

If the Wolverines don’t fall behind on Saturday, Gattis should be able to unleash Haskins and Charbonnet in the run game. On the flip side, Michigan’s defense hasn’t been able to stop anyone — especially on the ground. I think Rutgers will move the ball on the ground effectively as well to stay in this game.

I have the total projected at 63.72, so I think there’s some value on over 54.5 points.

Pick: Over 54.5 points (up to 57)

[Bet the Michigan-Rutgers over now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match] 

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