Rutgers Is About to Enter Its Annual Hell

Rutgers Is About to Enter Its Annual Hell article feature image

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nick Bosa

  • Rutgers begins a three-game stretch against Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State on Saturday.
  • The Scarlet Knights are 6-14-1 against the spread against those three teams and Michigan since joining the Big Ten.
  • They've been outscored 42-7 on average, failing to cover the spread by 14 points per game.

Rutgers is bad. You didn’t come here for that groundbreaking insight.

But the beauty of point spreads is that they make even the worst teams competitive. They make Rutgers bet-able — just not in this stretch of upcoming games.

Welcome back to hell, Rutgers.

Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers has gotten obliterated by the East’s best teams, who the Scarlet Knights must play every year — Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State.

Rutgers is 6-14-1 against the spread vs. those teams, according to our Bet Labs data, and has been outscored about 42-7 on average.

The average spread in those games has been Rutgers +22.6, and if you take out 2014, before Michigan and Penn State returned to form, it’s +25.2.

(Rutgers was even favored against Michigan in 2014; it won 26-24 but didn’t cover as a 2.5-point favorite. Why don’t we make fun of Michigan more for that?)

So what’s this got to do with 2019? Glad you asked. Rutgers begins a season-ending stretch on Saturday against Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State. The Scarlet Knights already lost to Michigan 52-0 in September.

In many of these games, the defense somewhat held up its end of the bargain to cover these huge numbers. But the offense did not. In 2016, Rutgers got outscored 222-0 in these four games. Zero points! In four games!

The most infamous effort was losing 78-0 to Michigan in 2016 and gaining fewer than one yard per play. And this Ohio State team is even better than that Michigan team.

This season, Rutgers is 2-7 both straight-up and against the spread. The Scarlet Knights have covered against in wins over UMass and Liberty and failed to cover in all their losses.

But even when Rutgers has been fine ATS against the rest of its schedule, it’s been terrible against the Big Ten East’s best.

Is any of this predictive? Will Rutgers cover in any of its final three games?

I don’t know.

But do you want to put your hard-earned cash behind the Scarlet Knights in their annual ride through hell?

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