College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Ohio State vs. Rutgers: What to Target in Big Ten Showdown

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Ohio State vs. Rutgers: What to Target in Big Ten Showdown article feature image
Credit:

Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Garrett Wilson (left) and CJ Stroud (right).

  • Ohio State travels to Piscataway to take on Greg Schiano and Rutgers.
  • The Buckeyes are coming off a drubbing of Akron, while the Scarlet Knights lost to Michigan in their Big Ten opener.
  • Alex Kolodziej previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Ohio State vs. Rutgers Odds

Ohio State Odds -15.5 (-110)
Rutgers Odds +15.5 (-110)
Moneyline -750 / +550
Over/Under 58.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Big Ten Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The only feeling worse than losing a bet is watching one win that you didn’t place.

Had Rutgers hit +21 around the market for last week’s game versus Michigan, I would’ve considered taking out a loan.

Except the number never got there, and all I could do was twiddle my thumbs while the Scarlet Knights covered by two touchdowns in a 20-13 loss to Michigan.

“Hey, you called it!”

Sweet. Keep your imaginary trophy. I haven’t slept in days. Rutgers was a lock.

OK, nothing’s ever a lock, but after watching head coach Greg Schiano throw the entire kitchen sink at Ohio State last year as an enormous road ‘dog, I wanted to play the same angle in the Big House.

Lo and behold, Rutgers outgained a ranked team in its home building, moving to 4-0 against the spread this season in the process. Schiano’s quietly catching fire in the underdog role, cashing five of the last seven when catching points.

In Week 5, the Scarlet Knights get another opportunity at a big upset when the Buckeyes visit Piscataway.

However, the play to make is on the total.


Ohio State vs. Rutgers Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 2
3:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Offense

Ohio State’s getting a good look at the quarterback depth chart through the first month.

Freshman C.J. Stroud started the first three games of the season. He put up 963 yards, eight touchdowns and three picks, along with the 14th-best EPA in the country among starting quarterbacks.

The California native was sidelined last week against Akron to rest his shoulder. Highly-touted backups Kyle McCord and Jack Miller III didn’t skip a beat in the wake.

The former did the bulk of the damage, racking up 318 yards on just 13 completions, while the latter added another 66 yards on eight attempts.

No word has surfaced on who’ll get the nod Saturday, but expect plenty of fireworks with the Buckeyes ranking in the top 10 in Big Play, Rush Success and Pass Success Rate.


Ohio State Defense

Ohio State’s defensive units have had issues recently, but never like this.

The secondary, in particular, got off to a rocky start, entering Week 4 allowing the second-highest Explosive Pass Rate in the entire country.

There aren’t many things to takeaway against an undermanned Akron offense allergic to ripping off big plays, but the Zips did manage 17 first downs last Saturday in the blowout loss.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers Offense

Defensive coordinators won’t lose much sleep game-planning for Rutgers’ offense; it’s not a unit hell-bent on playing track meets.

But Schiano, at minimum, would love nothing more than to mar the Buckeyes’ defensive numbers even more.

Rutgers threw out all the stops as a 37.5-point underdog in last year’s matchup. Four two-point conversions, onside kicks, trick plays, you name it.

I love how Rutgers is going so deep into the playbook and pull out every trick play just to lose to Ohio State by 700. THEY ARE HAVING FUNpic.twitter.com/4ihcA0lKGc

— Liam (@Blutman27) November 8, 2020

It’s not to say Rutgers can’t put up points the old-fashioned way.

The Scarlet Knights are averaging a notable 34 points per game, spearheaded by an offense ranking 22nd and 26th in Rushing Success Rate and Line Yards, respectively.


Rutgers Defense

Rutgers has allowed just 13.5 points per game against FBS opponents this season, good for seventh nationally.

The only problem is the Scarlet Knights have rarely been tested, particularly through the air.

The three teams they’ve drawn so far — Temple, Syracuse and Michigan –all rank top 40 in the country in run-play percentage and won’t overpower anyone through the air.

Not only is Ohio State lethal in the passing game, but it might also boast the best skill corps in the entire country.


Ohio State vs. Rutgers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Ohio State and Rutgers match up statistically:

Ohio State Offense vs. Rutgers Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
5
27
Line Yards
6
37
Pass Success
10
4
Pass Blocking**
39
42
Big Play
3
16
Havoc
6
6
Finishing Drives
31
41
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Rutgers Offense vs. Ohio State Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
22
34
Line Yards
26
34
Pass Success
60
90
Pass Blocking**
76
24
Big Play
127
82
Havoc
77
43
Finishing Drives
51
84
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling
5
37
PFF Coverage
54
35
Middle 8
60
80
SP+ Special Teams
2
82
Plays per Minute
18
90
Rush Rate
51.2% (86)
59.7% (35)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Keep an eye out for Rutgers’ pace on Saturday.

Although they’re just 90th in this department, the Scarlet Knights have played with leads the majority of the season. They rank 29th in the nation in run-play percentage (59.2%) and have kept the script simple when in a positive state.

Rutgers might be able to run the ball early, but what happens if it falls into a hole as a sizable ‘dog?


Ohio State vs. Rutgers Betting Pick

Teams completely outmatched against Ohio State are content with taking their beating, and going quietly.

Not Schiano. Last year, he extended a game that was out of hand as early as the second quarter.

Whether it was pride — Schiano was at OSU from 2016-18 — sheer effort, or someone in the family lineage dumping on Rutgers +37.5, the Scarlet Knights never went away.

Day and Co. were never really in trouble, but there was enough tomfoolery to make things interesting.

If I’m Day, the message this week is clear, particularly to the offense: tie a cement block to your ankle, put the foot on the pedal and keep it there.

Ohio State’s going to embarrass a secondary that hasn’t been tested yet, no matter which blue-chip quarterback is under center.

The Buckeyes will play fast. And if last year was any indication of how Schiano treats this series, he won’t be fazed by putting the ball in the air and matching pace.

Meanwhile, Rutgers has a pair of wide receivers in Bo Melton and Aron Cruickshank who went off for 14 catches and 136 yards combined in last year’s meeting.

I was happy to get a 58.5 on this total before it hit the key number of 59.

Frankly, I’d play it up to 61, in what was one of my biggest disagreements of the week.

Pick: Over 58.5 (Play to 61)

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