College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Rutgers vs. Penn State: Ride With Underdog in Happy Valley

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Rutgers vs. Penn State: Ride With Underdog in Happy Valley article feature image

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Clifford.

  • Penn State hosts a Rutgers team looking to clinch a bowl berth.
  • The Nittany Lions are coming off a loss to Michigan, but they've also dropped four of their last five games.
  • Matt Wispe dives right into this Big Ten clash while breaking down why he's riding with the underdog.

Rutgers vs. Penn State Odds

Saturday, Nov. 20
12 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Rutgers Odds
-112o / -109u
Penn State Odds
-112o / -109u
Odds via Parx. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Penn State hosts Rutgers in a Big Ten matchup on Saturday with no bearing on the conference championship. A win would be a nice boost for either team toward the end of the season, though.

While Penn State has one more win than the Scarlet Knights, both teams enter this one 6-4 against the spread this season.

The weather will be cool at kickoff with temperatures in the 40s and winds around eight mph throughout the game.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers Offense

This Rutgers offense has not been great this season, scoring just 23 points per game and averaging 4.6 yards per play. The Scarlet Knights average one play every 26.3 seconds and 70.8 per game, although that comes with just a 41.2% Success Rate.

Quarterback Noah Vedral hasn't been great, completing 60.5% of his passes for 6.3 yards per attempt. He has seven passing touchdowns and five interceptions, leading the Scarlet Knights to 180.8 passing yards per game.

As a whole, the Rutgers passing offense has a 38% Success Rate and is averaging just 2.1 completions of more than 20 yards per game.

On the ground, Rutgers is rushing for 145.7 yards per game, although its yards-per-carry average is just 3.6 with a 44% Success Rate. The Scarlet Knights offensive line has generated 3.16 Line Yards per attempt.

Rutgers Defense

Rutgers has been carried by a solid defense that is allowing 22.7 points per game and 5.9 yards per play, as well as a 37.3% Success Rate.

Opposing teams are averaging 218 passing yards per game at an average of 8.2 yards per attempt against the Scarlet Knights, completing just 54.3% of passes. That is in part why Rutgers has held opponents to a 36.7% passing success rate.

Opponents have rushed for 156.1 yards per game and 4.2 yards per attempt against Rutgers, which has allowed a 38.3% Rushing Success Rate.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State Offense

While slightly better than Rutgers, the Penn State offense is nothing to write home about either. The Nittany Lions are averaging 26 points per game and 5.2 yards per play with a 40.1% Success Rate.

Quarterback Sean Clifford has completed 62.7% of his passes for an average of 7.3 yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

The Nittany Lions receiving corps are led by Jahan Dotson (80 catches for 993 yards and nine touchdowns) and Parker Washington (47 catches for 590 yards). Dotson has more than one-third of all receptions registered by Penn State this season. He is a huge reason that the Nittany Lions' Passing Success Rate is as high as it is at 40.5%.

On the ground, Penn State has struggled, averaging 106.6 rushing yards per game on just 3.1 yards per attempt. The offensive line is generating 2.7 Line Yards per attempt, which is by no means good, and has allowed a 20.6% stuff rate.

Penn State Defense

Penn State's defense, though, is thriving, allowing just 17.1 points per game, 4.7 yards per play and a 40.6% success rate. The Nittany Lions could be even more dominant if they generated havoc on more than just 14.5% of plays.

Penn State's primary defensive strength is against the pass. It is allowing 213.9 passing yards per game, 5.9 yards per attempt and a completion percentage of 59.7%. They have held opponents to a 37.8% Passing Success rate while intercepting 10 passes this season.

The Nittany Lions are also solid against the rush, allowing just 3.6 yards per carry this season and a 43.2% Rushing Success rate. Their defensive line has allowed opponents to create just 2.97 line yards per attempt and forced a 20.3% stuff rate.

Rutgers vs. Penn State Matchup Analysis

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

Rutgers Offense vs. Penn State Defense
Rush Success6769
Line Yards6059
Pass Success11930
Pass Blocking**3065
Big Play12910
Finishing Drives853
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Penn State Offense vs. Rutgers Defense
Rush Success11731
Line Yards12154
Pass Success4521
Pass Blocking**891
Big Play10884
Finishing Drives9212
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling10264
Middle 810868
SP+ Special Teams7628
Plays per Minute7013
Rush Rate57.2% (52)47.% (115)

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

Defenses will be at the forefront of this matchup. Both offenses appear to be at a clear disadvantage against their counterparts, which should lead to a low scoring game.

Rutgers vs. Penn State Betting Pick

According to the Pro Report, big money has been bet on Rutgers with the Scarlet Knights getting 94% of the money and 76% of the tickets.

One key element to handicapping this spread is determining the likelihood for a higher-scoring game. With a total in the mid-40s and neither team boasting a potent offense, it makes the big underdog my preferred play.

Pick: Rutgers +17 ( play to +14.5)

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