Michigan vs Rutgers Odds, Picks & Predictions: Blowout in New Jersey?
Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images. Pictured: Blake Corum (Michigan)
- Michigan has owned some rather large spreads this season, but can it cover this one against Rutgers on Saturday?
- The Wolverines and Scarlet Knights have played some interesting games over the years.
- But Thomas Schlarp explains why this one won't be so intriguing.
Michigan vs Rutgers Odds
Rutgers hosting Michigan has given college football fans just about everything under the sun in the nine years since the Scarlet Knights have joined the Big Ten.
2014 served as Rutgers' first-ever Big Ten win in its 26-24 victory over the Wolverines. In the 2016 and 2018 games in Piscataway, Rutgers was outscored 120-7. Then most recently in 2020, Michigan escaped in a triple-overtime thriller in Greg Schiano's first year of his second stint at Rutgers.
But if past performance from this season is to serve as any indication of what may unfold on Saturday, the game will resemble more of the 2016 and 2018 versions of this nascent Big Ten matchup.
The Wolverines enter New Jersey with a perfect 8-0 record and are on the outside looking in of the College Football Playoff.
Rutgers, meanwhile, has dropped four of its first five conference games to start the season, including being shutout at Minnesota last weekend.
Does Rutgers have any hope of avoiding embarrassment against a Big Ten power, or is it perhaps catching Michigan at just the right time, only a week removed from a tunnel kerfuffle with Michigan State?
Outside of a one-score game against Maryland, there hasn't been much slowing Michigan down on either side of the ball.
Offensively, the Wolverines rank eighth in the country with 41.0 points per game. They've bullied teams on the ground, where they rank fifth in the nation with 246.0 yards per game.
Blake Corum has quickly shot up the Heisman leaderboard with 1,078 rushing yards on 6.0 yards per carry. He also has 14 rushing touchdowns.
The offensive line has mauled some of the better defenses in the country, like when Michigan rushed for 418 yards against a Penn State defense that hadn't given up that many rushing yards in its first five games combined.
J.J. McCarthy likely won't be tasked with much here, but the sophomore quarterback has proven competent enough to avoid the fatal mistakes that may keep an inferior opponent in games. McCarthy has just two interceptions on the year to go along with his 10 touchdowns.
Michigan's defense is allowing just 11.5 point per game, the third-best mark in the country. That's tough news for a Rutgers offense that is averaging 10.8 points against Big Ten defenses this season.
The Wolverines have held three of five conference opponents to fewer than 40 rushing yards this season. Taulia Tagovailoa is the only opposing quarterback to pass for multiple touchdowns and more than 250 yards against the Wolverines.
This defense has flummoxed most offenses in the Big Ten, ones that are far better than the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers has lost by just an average of 6.5 points in its last two games with the Wolverines, but this season isn't exactly shaping out to warrant faith in a similar result.
The Scarlet Knights will be sending out heralded prospect Gavin Wimsatt for just the third start of his career. The quarterback is one of the biggest recruiting pickups of the NIL era for Schiano and set a season-high mark in completions last week against Minnesota — with six.
The Rutgers offense has sputtered this season, as it has rotated three players at the quarterback position. It has relied more upon the run, where the Scarlet Knights rank a modest 53rd in Run Success.
Wimsatt is a dual-threat quarterback with over 100 yards rushing on 17 carries, and is supported by a troop of running backs led by Samuel Brown V.
The defense has held up a little better, but it's still not great. Iowa scored two offensive touchdowns against Rutgers, and the performance against Minnesota is a particular pause for concern as it relates to this matchup with Michigan.
Minnesota has a decent run game, but not so much that 253 rushing yards and four touchdowns was to be expected. If the Scarlet Knights had trouble slowing down Mo Ibrahim and the Gophers, there's no telling what Corum and Michigan's ground attack could do.
Michigan vs Rutgers Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Michigan and Rutgers match up statistically:
Michigan Offense vs. Rutgers Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Rutgers Offense vs. Michigan Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||9||45|
|Seconds per Play||29.9 (124)||28.5 (108)|
|Rush Rate||61.9% (13)||59.1% (29)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Michigan vs Rutgers Betting Pick
Michigan won the Big Ten last season, but only beat Rutgers by a touchdown. It was the Wolverines' first conference game of the season, however, and there wasn't a Heisman-hopeful at the running back position.
Giving up 26 points is a tough pill to swallow in a Big Ten game, but Corum and Donovan Edwards are an awful matchup for this Rutgers defense. The two had four touchdowns against Penn State and could be in for a similar performance here.
Wimsatt hasn't shown any reason in his limited action to believe he can be a catalyst for the Scarlet Knights' offense, and I have trouble seeing Rutgers score double-digits.
Stranger things have happened with this matchup in Piscataway, but not this year. Back the Wolverines.