Rutgers vs. Ohio State Predictions and Picks: Against the Spread and Latest Odds
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Point Spread: Ohio State -15
Game Time: Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, BTN
Rutgers vs. Ohio State Prediction
The Ohio State Buckeyes will make the trek to New Jersey to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Ohio State enters this game fresh off a convincing and lopsided 59-7 win against Akron, but things are about to get considerably more difficult for the Buckeyes here. Ohio State was without starting quarterback C.J. Stroud due to a shoulder injury, but head coach Ryan Day has said early in the week that he expects his number one quarterback to be fine and ready to return for this Big Ten matchup. Ohio State is 3-1 SU on the season, with their lone loss coming against Oregon, but they are 1-3 ATS in their first four games, with last week’s romp over Akron being the only point spread cover this season for the Buckeyes.
The defense has been an area of concern as the Buckeyes are a staggering 82nd in rushing yards allowed per game, 102nd in passing yards allowed per game, and 89th in total yards allowed per game. Those aren’t typical numbers for this team on the defensive side of the football, and in their lone previous road game, which was their Big Ten opener against Minnesota, they yielded a very alarming 203 rushing yards on over 4 yards per carry in that game to the Golden Gophers, and that could be problematic against a Rutgers offense that definitely prefers to run the football as they are averaging 43 rush attempts per game compared to just 29 pass attempts per game and the Scarlet Knights have a good running back in Isaih Pacheco and the vulnerability of that run defense for Ohio State could lead to a productive day on the ground here for the Rutgers starting running back. That has led to more effective quarterback play from Noah Vedral having a solid run game to rely on.
The Rutgers defense has been very solid to this point of the season. Last week, the Scarlet Knights played against a Michigan Wolverines team that put up 47 points against Western Michigan, 31 points against Washington, and 63 points against Northern Illinois in their first three games. Rutgers defense held Michigan to a season-low 20 points, and their running back duo of Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins, which ran wild in those three wins for the Wolverines, was held to just a combined 112 rushing yards on 2.9 yards per carry. At the same time, quarterback Cade McNamara completed only nine passes for 163 yards last week against the Rutgers defense. Greg Schiano has done a terrific job with this program. Building up this defense and turning that unit from a liability before returning as head coach of the program into a strength of this football team has been a remarkable turnaround. Ohio State does have an explosive offense and a dynamic passing attack with Stroud back at quarterback this week and surefire NFL-bound receivers like Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Still, the Scarlet Knights defense has proven to be formidable, and they are surrendering just 150 yards per game through the air, which ranks them 15th in the country in pass defense.
Rutgers was undervalued last season, and they have continued to be undervalued this season starting off the year 4-0 ATS (with an ATS margin of +65.5 points this season in those four games), including their wire-to-wire point, spread cover last week against Michigan. I cashed a ticket with Rutgers last week here at OddsChecker recommending the Scarlet Knights plus the points in my betting preview article of their game against the Wolverines, and I’m coming right back to them here against Ohio State. You won’t see me betting against any of the undefeated ATS teams this week because I need proof of the betting markets and oddsmakers catching up to where those teams are before there is legitimate value to bet against them, especially when considering the markets have been off by 65 points ATS with this Rutgers team on the season. The oddsmakers have yet to power rate Rutgers correctly, and I expect them to do what they’ve often done so far in a year plus under head coach Greg Schiano, and that is battle for a full 60 minutes. The Scarlet Knights have covered two straight against the Buckeyes and are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog. That’s a track record worth riding here.