Penn State vs. Rutgers Odds & Picks: Betting Value Lies With Scarlet Knights on Saturday Afternoon
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rutgers standouts Olakunle Fatukasi, right, and Michael Dwumfour.
- With both schools coming off victories, Rutgers hosts Penn State in Piscataway, New Jersey.
- Sean Clifford played well in his return as the Nittany Lions’ starting QB last week, while the Scarlet Knights may be without their No. 1 option in Noah Vedral.
- Mike Bainbridge is still backing Rutgers as a home underdog, and he explains why.
Penn State vs. Rutgers Odds
|Penn State Odds||-12.5 [BET NOW]|
|Rutgers Odds||+12.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-455 / +340 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||52.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Saturday morning and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today.|
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-4) and Penn State Nittany Lions (1-5) look to generate their first winning streaks of the 2020 season, with both teams are coming off victories last week.
Rutgers snapped a four-game losing streak, defeating Purdue, 37-30, in a game it was without starting quarterback Noah Vedral.
On the other side, the Nittany Lions played their cleanest game of the year against Michigan, but faces a tougher challenge against a team that actually plays with some heart and motivation as opposed to the soul-less Wolverines.
Penn State, which has won 13 consecutive games against Rutgers, has racked up a 28-2 advantage in the all-time series. That lopsided history had head coach Greg Schiano downplaying any talk of this being a rivalry.
“I don’t think you can make a rival,” Schiano said Tuesday. “If we play well enough over a number of years here in the game against Penn State, it would be a natural rival — bordering states, all that. But Rutgers has not given a reason yet for us to be Penn State’s rival. That’s up to us.”
Penn State Nittany Lions
Quarterback Sean Clifford returned to the starting lineup last week and responded with his cleanest game of the season, completing 61% of his throws for 236 total yards in the win.
Most importantly for Clifford, it was the first game this season in which he did not turn the ball over. Continuing that will be imperative against a Rutgers defense that has forced 11 turnovers this season, a mark that’s good for fifth in the conference.
The Nittany Lions will get Devyn Ford in the fold this week after the running back missed the Michigan game due to a death in the family, but the unfortunate circumstances may have cost him a starting spot with the emergence of freshman Keyvone Lee.
Ranked as one of the worst rush offenses in the Big Ten coming in, Lee guided the Nittany Lions carried the ball 22 times for 134 yards and a touchdown.
A stiff challenge will come against Rutgers’ front seven. The group is guided linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi, who leads the conference in tackles by a considerable margin, and do-it-all playmaker Mohamed Toure (three sacks, nine tackles for loss and two forced fumbles) this season.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Since beginning the week as a nine-point underdog, the line has now moved to +11, leading me to believe Vedral’s status may be closer to doubtful after missing the Purdue game with an unspecified injury. Schiano offered no update or timetable, stating Vedral is back under center when healthy.
Vedral did travel with the team to West Lafayette, Ind., and participated in pregame warmups, but the telecast showed him grimacing when he threw the ball. In his place, the Scarlet Knights turned for former four-star recruit Art Sitkowski, with a mixture of dual-threat Johnny Langan in running packages.
Our pick here would benefit from Vedral being under center, as Penn State’s strength this season has been stopping the run — a category in which the Nittany Lions are holding opponents to under four yards per carry.
The Penn State run defense has been leaky recently, though, allowing Michigan to average more than six yards per attempt while giving up six rushing touchdowns in the last two games.
While the Scarlet Knights have the worst scoring defense in the conference despite allowing north of 35 points per game, they do play behind the line of scrimmage, ranking second in tackles for loss. Rutgers is also fifth in the Big Ten in turnovers forced, which could be a factor with expected sloppy weather.
Betting Analysis & Pick
As of now, I’m steering clear of the total set at 54.5 points. Both Rutgers and Penn State are in the bottom third of the conference in scoring defense, but the weather will be a factor, with winds of 16 to 17 mph and close to a 90 percent chance of rain by kickoff.
Our PRO Projections see some slight value with Rutgers at +11.5, valuing this closer to +10.3, especially if the turnover-hungry Scarlet Knights defense can force Clifford into a few errant decisions in poor conditions like he’s done most of the season.
Pick: Rutgers +11.5.