Temple vs. Rutgers Betting Odds, Picks, Prediction: Greg Schiano’s Knights Are Heavy Favorites (Saturday, Sept. 4)
Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images. Pictured: Isaih Pacheco.
- Temple and Rutgers face off in a matchup that was originally scheduled for Thursday night.
- The Scarlet Knights look to get back on the right track under head coach Greg Schiano and look to be trending upward.
- Check out Mike Bainbridge's full betting guide with odds, picks, and predictions for the game.
Editor’s Note: Thursday’s Temple vs. Rutgers matchup has been moved to Saturday due to the impact of Tropical Storm Ida on roads near Piscataway.
Temple vs. Rutgers Odds
When is the last time Rutgers was favored by double-digits against an FBS opponent?
That speaks to the job that head coach Greg Schiano has done in such short order, as the Scarlet Knights were mostly competitive in every matchup last season in their conference-only schedule, finishing 3-6 without losing a game by more than 22 points.
It’s a low bar but a major accomplishment coming from the depths at which this program was at in recent years.
Last season was less kind to third-year head coach Rod Carey, whose Temple Owls finished 1-6, losing five of those matchups by double figures with a roster that had 22 players making their first collegiate starts at one point due to injuries or COVID-19. Experience will be lacking yet again for the Owls, as they return just 58% of their overall production from a year ago, ranking 117th amongst FBS teams.
Despite being close in proximity, this will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2013, with Rutgers winning each of the last four matchups.
Carey will be breaking in a new starting quarterback this season with former Georgia transfer D’Wan Mathis, who won the job outright coming out of spring camp.
Mathis’ debut with the Bulldogs a season ago was one to forget, completing just 8-of-17 passes for 55 yards and an interception against Arkansas in the opener. It should be considered, though, that this was a freshman making his first career start on the road against an SEC opponent in a wonky offseason due to the pandemic.
Mathis should be a much better fit in Carey’s offense that is expected to resemble more of what we saw at Northern Illinois, where dual-threat quarterbacks thrive, averaging over 100+ carries and 500 rushing yards on a consistent basis.
There are only six returning starters with the remainder of the offense, including four on the offensive line and star receiver Jadan Blue, who boasts 136 receptions and nine touchdowns over the last two seasons.
It’s not much better on the other side of the ball for the Owls in terms of defensive returning production (53%) from a unit that ranked 88th nationally in yards allowed per game and was gashed on the ground to the tune of 208 yards allowed per contest.
Ten starters are back on offense for the Scarlet Knights — only losing their starting right tackle from a year ago — in what intends to be a ball-control offense that will look to get the ground attack going on Thursday night.
The Rutgers offensive line ranked just 84th last season in Line Yards created but should have the advantage against a Temple defensive front that will have brand new starters at defensive tackle, including a true freshman in Nick Bags.
Leading rusher Isaih Pacheco is back after running for 515 yards and three scores, but the Scarlet Knights love their depth in the backfield with Aaron Young and upstart freshman Jamier Wright-Collins, who will all see reps on Thursday.
Former Nebraska transfer Noah Vedral returns as the team’s starting quarterback after completing 61.5% of his throws for 1,253 yards and nine touchdowns a season ago.
All three of his top targets are back along with in Bo Melton, Aron Cruickshank and Shameen Jones, who combined for 118 of the team’s 198 total receptions. The hope is that the returning experience will yield better results, as Rutgers was just 115th nationally last year in Offensive Success Rate and struggled to generate many explosive plays.
Defensively, the Knights boast one of the better linebacking corps in the conference with Olakunle Fatukasi and Tyshon Fogg, who helped Rutgers lead the Big Ten in tackles for loss and finished 18th in Defensive Havoc in the front seven.
Temple vs. Rutgers Matchup Analysis
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Temple Offense vs. Rutgers Defense
Rutgers Offense vs. Temple Defense
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Temple vs. Rutgers Betting Pick
The opening line began at 13 and has now jumped to 14.5 in favor of the Scarlet Knights with Action Network’s PRO Report model calling for a 15.8-point spread.
Rutgers was just 1-4 last season ATS in the friendly confines of Piscataway, but this is a matchup it should be able to handle with relative ease considering the veteran roster returning in 2021 and Temple’s lack of experience.
Back the Knights in what should be a convincing win to begin Year 2 of the Schiano rebuild.