College Football Week 1 Rutgers vs. Boston College Picks, Betting Odds, Predictions: Back the Under on Saturday
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Zay Flowers (Boston College)
Rutgers vs. Boston College Odds
-115o / -105u
|Boston College Odds|
-115o / -105u
Rutgers travels to Alumni Stadium to match up with Boston College and kick off its college football season.
Despite putting up back-to-back six-win seasons, head coach Jeff Hafley hasn’t coached in a bowl game yet. Boston College had to withdraw from its matchup with East Carolina in the Military Bowl last season after players were unavailable due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Rutgers was invited to the Gator Bowl last season after finishing with only five wins. After Texas A&M pulled out due to COVID-19 issues of its own, the Scarlet Knights received the improbable invitation.
Both programs begin their adventure to another bowl game on Saturday afternoon.
Defense will reign supreme in this Week 1 matchup.
This is the year for results for Greg Schiano after finishing with an 8-14 record in his first two seasons at the helm. Schiano hopes to earn a bid to a bowl game this season, as the group returns 16 starters from last year.
The Scarlet Knights rank 16th in the nation in offensive returning production, according to TARP. All but one starter comes back on the offensive side of the football from a group that was near the bottom of the Big Ten.
Rutgers averaged less than 20 points and 256 yards per game last season. Schiano implemented a run-first offense that managed just 3.6 yards per carry.
Quarterback Noah Vedral was very inconsistent, tossing seven touchdowns and interceptions while averaging six yards per pass attempt. Vedral was the team’s second-leading rusher last season gaining 297 yards on his 102 attempts.
Rutgers will need to show some major improvement if it wants to find success in the season opener. Last season, the Scarlet Knights ranked outside the top 100 in Success Rate and points per possession. Schiano’s offense ranked dead last in the country in finding explosive plays, too.
The Rutgers defense largely carried the program to its five wins last year. In those victories, the Scarlet Knights allowed just 10 points per game. In their eight losses, they allowed an average of 35 points per contest.
Despite allowing a Big Ten-worst 8.3 yards per pass attempt, the secondary is returning and should show improvement. A matchup with Phil Jurkovec in the season opener will be a strong indicator of that.
Boston College has been stuck in the middle of the ACC for the last decade. The Eagles have a 56-56 record since 2013, but Hadley has the talent to become a threat atop the ACC in his third year.
The Eagles opened last season winning their first four games before dropping six of their final eight.
The program was dealt a blow after Jurkovec fractured his throwing hand in Week 2. The NFL prospect returned for the final four games of the season and proved his importance when he was under center.
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The Boston College offense suffered with its quarterback carousel, averaging 24 points and less than 300 yards per game. The Eagles ranked outside the top 85 in the nation in Success Rate and creating Havoc.
The offense returns its top receiver in Zay Flowers and cowbell running back Patrick Garwo III. But the main concern comes on the offensive line, where the unit will be replacing all five starters from last season.
The Boston College defense carried the program to bowl eligibility last season. It held Colgate, Temple and Virginia Tech to a combined six points total. The Eagles’ defense was disciplined as usual, ranking among the top 20 in explosiveness.
The group will have a large advantage against the lackluster Rutgers offense.
Rutgers vs. Boston College Betting Pick
Boston College enters this matchup on an 11-game win streak against Rutgers. Although I believe that streak continues after Saturday, I’m eyeing the total in this matchup.
The Rutgers offense was hard to watch last season, averaging less than 20 points per game. Vedral has struggled to push the ball downfield and led the offense to 130th in explosiveness.
A season opener against Boston College won’t do the Scarlet Knights’ confidence any favors.
Boston College’s defense will have a significant advantage over the Rutgers offense in almost every facet of the game.
On the flip side the Rutgers defense should be able to contain the Boston College offense. Though Jurkovec will be healthy, the Eagles will be tossing five new starters into the fire on the offensive line.
If there is a strength to Rutgers’ defense, it is in the secondary, and it can slow down the Eagles’ passing attack.
I anticipate both punters seeing the field often in this defensive battle.