Rutgers vs. Ohio State Odds, Picks: The First-Half Bet for Saturday

Rutgers vs. Ohio State Odds, Picks: The First-Half Bet for Saturday article feature image

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Simon & Kyle Monangai (Rutgers)

  • The Rutgers Scarlet Knights travel to Columbus on Saturday to face the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Horseshoe.
  • The Buckeyes are unsurprisingly big favorites against their Big Ten East foe.
  • Keg breaks down a first-half bet for this game below.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 1
3:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Rutgers Odds
-110o / -110u
Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Greg Schiano will return to Ohio State on Saturday for the second time since he parted ways with the Buckeyes in 2018. His first return ended in a 49-27 loss for the Scarlet Knights, but it was the closest matchup to date between the two teams — and more importantly, he covered the spread.

Now, as a 41-point underdog, up against the No. 3-ranked team in the country, can he cover once again?

Last year, the Scarlet Knights failed to cover a much smaller spread of 15, but they still lost by less than Saturday's listed number of 41.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

The Scarlet Knights enter their matchup with the Buckeyes coming off of a 27-10 loss to Iowa last week. Their first loss of the season put them at 3-1.

While there were turnover issues against the Hawkeyes, the rest of the team — specifically the defense — has looked great.

Rutgers' most significant setback has been the injury to quarterback Noah Vedral, who got hurt during training camp.

There are whispers that he could make his debut against the Buckeyes, but I wouldn't hold your breath. I can't see Schiano rushing a player back from injury just to cover Rutgers +41 tickets.

Realistically, I don't see them winning this game with or without Vedral.

The defense will be the Scarlet Knights' best chance at attempting to slow down one of the country's most explosive and high-scoring offenses.

The Scarlet Knights rank second nationally in rush defense, allowing two rushing scores in four games and holding opponents to 1.78 yards per carry. Opposing teams are averaging just 56.5 rushing yards per contest against Rutgers.

Slowing down this Ohio State offense for 60 minutes is a tall task for anyone, but I think Rutgers can somewhat put the brakes on it. The Scarlet Knights rank 10th in Rush Play Success Rate Allowed and are 48th in Defensive Success Rate.

Will that be enough to cover the spread against the Buckeyes?

Ohio State Buckeyes

In their last three games, the Buckeyes have outscored opponents 174-54. Many thought Wisconsin would give them somewhat of a challenge, but with a 31-7 Buckeyes lead at halftime, those hopes were all but gone.

Ohio State leads the FBS in touchdowns with 27 on the season. It's also first in putting up 8.25 yards per play, and ranks second in yards per game, posting 558.8 per contest.

Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud leads all quarterbacks in passing scores, is fourth in yards per attempt and is second in QB rating.

Did I mention the Buckeyes are without their best receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba? Of course, the Ohio State offense is more than a two-person show — it's Ohio State. However, still putting up these kinds of numbers, knowing it can only get better once Smith-Njigba is back, is astounding.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ohio State has been far from bad, but first-year defensive coordinator Jim Knowles can't be content with giving up 21 points to Toledo and Wisconsin in back-to-back weeks.

The Buckeyes rank 102nd in Pass Down Explosiveness Allowed and are 92nd in Rush Play Explosiveness Allowed.

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Rutgers vs. Ohio State Matchup Analysis

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

Rutgers Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Rush Success5513
Line Yards245
Pass Success1039
Pass Blocking**9330
Finishing Drives9872
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Ohio State Offense vs. Rutgers Defense
Rush Success1623
Line Yards74
Pass Success131
Pass Blocking**1348
Finishing Drives429
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling247
PFF Coverage4244
SP+ Special Teams4298
Seconds per Play27.7 (93)27.4 (85)
Rush Rate58.5% (36)54.6% (58)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State Betting Pick

With Michigan State on deck — which doesn't seem to pose much of a threat after what we saw against Minnesota last week — Ohio State won't be looking ahead.

However, the Buckeyes' defense and just how prepared Rutgers is for this game may be an issue for the Buckeyes.

This Buckeyes' defense giving up 21 to Toledo is a significant concern in my eyes, and I think Rutgers — even if backup Evan Simon is under center — can put some points on the board.

The Scarlet Knights rank seventh in returning production, so many of these players remember last year's loss to the Buckeyes in Piscataway. There's no doubt that Schiano has this one circled.

Rutgers has the defense to slow down Ohio State, and I expect it to come into this game fired up. My only concern is how long it can hold off the Buckeyes' offense, and if it will tire out as the game continues.

Because of that, I'm taking Rutgers to cover the first-half spread, which I was able to lock in at Caesars at 26.5. I feel comfortable backing the Scarlet Knights down to +24 in the first half.

Pick: Rutgers 1H +24 or better

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