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Rutgers opens as seven-point favorite against Illinois

The Scarlet Knights open as favorite against Big Ten opponent for the first time since 2014.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan State Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers entered the season on a 21-game losing streak in the Big Ten. That was ended in Week 1 against Michigan State.

The Scarlet Knights are coming off their best performance ever in Columbus where they scored four touchdowns in the second half. The oddsmakers were on notice as they have Rutgers as seven-point favorites in Week 4 against Illinois, according to VegasInsider.

This is the first time Rutgers has been favored in a Big Ten game since 2014, their first season in the conference. The last time came against Indiana on a game played on Nov. 14, 2014. The Scarlet Knights were a 6.5-point favorite against the Hoosiers and won the game 45-23. Gary Nova finished 16-27 for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Josh Hicks led the team with 114 rushing yards while Robert Martin scored three times on the ground.

This is only the second time Rutgers will be favored in a Big Ten game. Rutgers is 2-1 against the spread this season. This will be the first game overall that they are favored since the 2019 season opener against UMass. They have faced the top two teams in the conference over the last two weeks in Ohio State and Indiana and have held their own.

Illinois is 0-3 this season and coming off a 41-14 loss to Minnesota. The Illini have won three of the last four meetings against Rutgers since the Scarlet Knights entered the Big Ten. When looking at the first three weeks of the season, it is hard to argue against Rutgers being favored in this one. They have looked better than Illinois in all aspects of the game. The Illini are also without starting quarterback Brandon Peters, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

For Scarlet Knights’ fans, this will be a week full of hope and excitement. This is a game Rutgers has a great chance of winning to get their record to 2-2. Kickoff against Illinois is noon ET on BTN on Saturday, November 14.