While Michigan State (2-3, 0-2) facing Rutgers (4-2, 1-2) might not feature two top schools in the Big Ten this season, it is still worth being a part of the best college football bets on Oct. 14. Both programs need this win, with tougher matchups ahead.
The Michigan State Spartans did not play last week but did lose 26-16 to Iowa in Week 5, showing some ability to move the ball on offense, but turnovers and special team mistakes cost them the game. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights didn’t fare much better, losing 24-13 to Wisconsin last week, unable to find much of a rhythm.
Michigan State Needed Week Off
There has been a lot going on at Michigan State recently. For one, College Football news broke that former head coach Mel Tucker was fired the Wednesday before the team faced Iowa. He had not been with the team for the last three games due to inappropriate behavior, which was the eventual cause of his firing.
On top of that, after two easy opening games to the season, the Spartans lost the next three, heading into their bye-week on a losing streak. The bye-week could not have come any sooner, with the Spartans ready to reset and prepare for a grueling second half of their Big Ten schedule.
Week 2 Performance
RB Nathan Carter – Michigan State
• 111 Rushing yards 3 TDs
• 5.8 ypc
• 2 rec 14 yards pic.twitter.com/ZotfhOhYr8
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 9, 2023
In the loss against Iowa, Michigan State showed signs of potentially moving in the right direction. The Spartans moved the ball well on offense, finishing with 349 yards. This was spearheaded by running back Nathan Carter, who rushed for 108 yards on 20 carries, leading to a solid first half with three field goals. The defense also played well, holding Iowa to 222 yards and scoring off a forced fumble.
However, quarterback Noah Kim struggled the entire game. He only had 193 yards on 44 pass attempts, with three interceptions, which repeatedly halted any momentum the Spartans began to build. The game could have been much closer if it hadn’t been for his mistakes and a punt returned for a touchdown. That is a big reason our NCAAF lines have Michigan State as an underdog against Rutgers.
Rutgers Surpassing ATS Success
While Rutgers hasn’t always been seen as one of the best options for college football betting, they have had success early this season. Against the spread, the Scarlet Knights are 5-0-1. The one time they failed to cover was a push against Michigan, losing 31-7, with the Scarlet Knights being 24-point underdogs.
Rutgers has had early success ATS because its first three games were at home against lower-ranked teams, Northwestern, Temple, and Virginia Tech. On top of that, the College Football spreads in each of those games were set at a touchdown or less. The other two Rutgers covers were a massive 52-3 win over Wagner and the loss to Wisconsin.
Against Wisconsin, Rutgers was a 13-point underdog, and after the second half, it looked like there was no chance for a cover. Wisconsin’s defense shut out the Scarlet Knights in the first half, helped out by a red zone interception returned for a touchdown thrown by Gavin Wimsatt.
Wimsatt did not have a great game, 181 yards on 35 attempts and that crucial interception, but did get a touchdown late to help grab the cover. However, the lack of a run game –with Kyle Monangai only getting eight carries for 16 yards– was the biggest problem for Rutgers’ offense. Monangai averages 5.1 yards per carry in 96 attempts but has struggled against the better teams.
Michigan State vs Rutgers Betting Lines
Michigan State vs Rutgers Best Bet
Running the ball will be a crucial aspect of this game for college football picks given that neither quarterback is reliable. Last week, Rutgers struggled to run the ball while giving up 213 yards on the ground.
On the other hand, Michigan State succeeded on the ground while winning the battle in the trenches on defense. The Spartans needed the week off and should be able to put a good first step back, potentially ending their three-game losing streak.
College Football Best Bet: Michigan State +4½ (-110)
Michigan State vs Rutgers Game Information
- Game: Michigan State (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) vs Rutgers (4-2, 1-2)
- Location: SHI Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
- Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 14, 12:00 p.m. ET
- Michigan State vs Rutgers Live Stream: ESPN
What is the best college football bet in the Michigan State vs. Rutgers game?
Despite Rutgers’ success ATS, Michigan State has the running game and defense to cover in this game.
What is a specific NCAAF prop bet that can be placed on the Michigan State vs Rutgers game?
There is a good chance that if Michigan State is competitive in this game, it will be because they have a lot of rushing yards. Go with a prop bet there.