Rutgers vs. Syracuse Odds & Pick: Why to Bet the Scarlet Knights in Road Showdown (Sept. 11)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral.
- The college football Week 2 slate continues with Rutgers traveling to Syracuse in an afternoon battle.
- The Scarlet Knights are coming off a 61-14 win, while the Orange allowed only nine points in Week 1.
- Kyle Remillard provides a full break down as to why you should back the road team.
Rutgers vs. Syracuse Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
An old Big East rivalry will be reignited Saturday when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights travel to the Carrier Dome to face the Syracuse Orange.
Rutgers is coming off a dominant 61-14 win over Temple in its season opener. The game was postponed from Thursday to Saturday due to flooding from Hurricane Ida. The Scarlet Knights capitalized on creating turnovers and finishing drives in their statement victory.
Rutgers finished last season 3-6, but three of their losses came by eight points or less. The program has increased its scoring by more than 13 points per game under Sean Gleeson’s new up-tempo offense and has been trending upward since head coach Greg Schiano has taken the reins.
Syracuse was able to defeat Ohio University, 29-9, in the season opener. Tommy DeVito, who was named the starting quarterback over Mississippi State transfer Garrett Shrader, didn’t shine in that game. The Orange leaned on their running attack and defense to secure the win.
Rutgers snapped a 21-game Big 10 losing streak in 2020 and was highly competitive all season.
The Scarlet Knights increased their scoring from 13.2 points per game in 2019 to 26.7 in 2020. All signs point to that progress continuing as they bring back nearly all of their offensive production from last season.
Scarlet Knights Offense
The Scarlet Knights, who return 10 offensive starters, only lost their starting right tackle entering the season. Most of the starters are back from a unit that ranked 115th nationally last year in Offensive Success Rate and struggled to generate a lot of explosive plays.
They want to establish the run and play with tempo, which is exactly what we saw in the opening week. Sean Gleeson’s offense dominated inside the trenches against Temple, where it ran the ball 51 times for a total of 220 yards and six touchdowns.
Quarterback Noah Vedral was mediocre in the opener, averaging 5.1 yards per attempt on his 27 passes, including a touchdown.
The offensive box score stats don’t indicate a dominant offensive performance from Rutgers, as it totaled just 365 yards on offense. That’s because the defense forced five turnovers, putting the offense in positions to succeed. The offense was efficient in Finishing Drives, which will be a crucial factor against the Orange.
Scarlet Knights Defense
Rutgers defense was phenomenal in the opener, allowing just a yard per play on first downs and 2.5 yards per play on third down.
The Scarlet Knights ranked 18th in the country in Havoc defense in 2020. In their season opener, they created five turnovers, caused three fumbles and had two interceptions. One of those interceptions resulted in a touchdown when Max Melton ran it back 46 yards for the score.
The Scarlet Knights allowed just 3.1 yards per carry on 36 carries. The unit was just as efficient through the air, allowing Temple to complete just 29% of its pass attempts and averaging 5.3 yards per attempt.
The defense has thrived at making plays in the backfield. After leading the conference in tackles for loss last year, this group continued that trend in Week 1 with 10 tackles for loss.
Matching up against a subpar Syracuse offensive line could mean the Rutgers defensive front is in store for another big game.
The 2020 season was one to forget for Syracuse, which lost by an average margin of 14.9 points per game. The Orange lost DeVito for the season in the fourth week with an ankle injury and things spiraled for the program.
However, Syracuse turned the page winning handily in the opening week, matching its win total from a season ago.
Nearly every offensive metric had Syracuse with a triple-digit ranking associated with it. The Orange sat 119th in Rushing Success and 125th in Passing Success. They were unable to finish drives, finishing the season ranked 124th overall.
However, the Orange started on the right note this season with a road win over Ohio. DeVito was mediocre in his first game, completing 11 of 17 passes for 92 yards and added another 47 yards on the ground. Sean Tucker was the workhorse for the Orange, who ran for 181 yards on his 25 carries. They averaged 6.4 yards per carry on their 44 attempts.
The main concern is the offensive line unit that allowed 38 sacks last season, which was third-worst in FBS.
Ohio was unable to exploit Syracuse’s offensive-line woes, but the Rutgers front seven will thrive against it.
In 2020, the Orange defense allowed 32 points per game and through Dino Barbers’ tenure has allowed 460 yards per game.
They run the 3-3-5 defensive scheme but have some new young faces in the secondary who rarely saw the field last season.
Ohio was able to move the ball against the Orange averaging 6.8 yards per pass attempt and 4.2 yards per carry. However, the drives stalled once they got inside their own 40-yard line.
Rutgers flourished on finishing drives and converting their turnovers into points. The bend-don’t-break mentality that Syracuse leaned on in its opener will be tougher to maintain in this matchup.
Rutgers vs. Syracuse Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Rutgers and Syracuse match up statistically:
Rutgers Offense vs. Syracuse Defense
Syracuse Offense vs. Rutgers Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Data via College Football Data (CFBD) and FootballOutsiders; SP+ projection per ESPN.
Rutgers vs. Syracuse Betting Pick
The Syracuse offensive line wasn’t tested opening week against Ohio, but Rutgers creates chaos in the backfield and has been great at forcing turnovers over the last two seasons.
Rutgers linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi had three sacks, four tackles for loss, forced a fumble and assisted in creating a safety in the first week. He’s one of the most underrated defensive players in the Big Ten and should create problems in the Syracuse backfield.
Syracuse defeated Ohio by 20 points, but only out-gained it by 37 yards of offense in that game. The Bobcats consistently had self-inflicted wounds, such as a muffed kickoff, that the Orange capitalized on.
Rutgers won’t make the same mistakes and will be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Pick: Rutgers -2 (Play to -3)
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