It’s been since 2014 that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights were bowl-eligible, but they can achieve that with a victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday. Rutgers is coming off a historic blowout of the Indiana Hoosiers last weekend, while the Nittany Lions dropped a close contest to the visiting Michigan Wolverines. The college football odds have Penn State as a heavy home favorite but before you bet online on this one, read our betting guide to help you make some informed wagers.
To say the Nittany Lions have dominated this all-time series would be putting it mildly, as Penn State has won 24 of the 25 matchups between these schools. The Lions are currently on a 14-game winning streak against the Scarlet Knights, including a 23-7 win in Piscataway, NJ, in 2020.
Rutgers’ only victory over Penn State came in 1988, a 21-16 win on the road. Overall, the Nittany Lions are 14-1 against the Scarlet Knights in University Park, Pa.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Next game: vs. Maryland
The Scarlet Knights kept their hopes of becoming bowl-eligible alive with the biggest blowout win in their time in the Big Ten, a 38-3 victory at Indiana. Rutgers forced six turnovers by the Hoosiers and held them to only a field goal and 259 total yards.
Noah Vedral was 9-of-17 for 97 yards and also ran for a touchdown, while Isaih Pacheco had 79 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Scarlet Knights had two interceptions and four fumble recoveries in the victory.
Rutgers improved to 6-4 against the spread this season after coming in as 6½-point underdogs. The Scarlet Knights are 4-1 ATS when playing on the road.
Linebackers Olakunie Fatukasi, Tyshon Fogg and Tyreek Maddox-Williams all missed last week’s victory over Indiana with injuries. Their statuses for this week are still up in the air.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Next game: at Michigan State
The Nittany Lions scored 11 straight points to start the fourth quarter and take the lead on visiting Michigan, but the Wolverines rallied for a 21-17 victory over Penn State. Quarterback Sean Clifford was 23-of-43 for 205 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Nittany Lions from their fourth loss in five games.
Penn State struggled to put the ball into the end zone in the first half, settling for two field goals as well as turning the ball over on a fake field-goal attempt. The yardage and first down totals were almost even, but the Nittany Lions’ inability to score touchdowns proved to be the difference.
The loss dropped Penn State to 6-4 against the spread this season, as it couldn’t cover the 2½-point spread the Wolverines were favored by. The Nittany Lions are 3-3 ATS when playing at home in 2021.
The Nittany Lions came away from the Michigan game without any new significant injuries.
Betting on the Game
The Nittany Lions’ offense has struggled at times this season, including last week, and Rutgers’ defense has been playing very well of late. How many of the Scarlet Knights’ linebackers are still sidelined could go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
Clifford will try to get the ball down the field and hurt the Scarlet Knights through the air, but Rutgers can be very stingy, as shown by its performance last week, holding Indiana to just 177 yards passing. Of course, Clifford is a step up from the Hoosiers’ passers, so Rutgers will have to be even better this week.
Offensively, Rutgers struggled last week, despite the lopsided score. Penn State was able to keep Michigan in check and is allowing just 17.1 points per game this season. While the 17½ seems like a big number, the Nittany Lions’ defense should be able to keep the Scarlet Knights from scoring much to make that margin possible.
The 46½ number may be hard for these teams to reach, however, so when making your college football picks, go with the under. Unless Rutgers suddenly finds an offense, these teams won’t come close to that total.