Rutgers has quickly come back down to Earth. After a 3-0 start, the Scarlet Knights have lost their last three games in Big Ten play, all against teams ranked in the top ten nationally. The bright side is that they now have a winnable game on the road against Northwestern.
The Scarlet Knights are currently two-point favorites ahead of travelling to Evanston on Saturday, according to BetOnline. Rutgers is -125 on the money line while Northwestern is +105. The total is set at 44.5.
This spread says a lot more about Northwestern than it does Rutgers. The Wildcats are struggling this year but it is not a good look to be a home dog to the Scarlet Knights right now. While both teams have similar records, Rutgers at 3-3 and Northwestern at 2-3, they have had very different paths against the spread.
Rutgers is 4-2 ATS after failing to cover the previous two. They are 1-2 ATS in conference play to begin the year. The silver lining is that the Scarlet Knights are 3-0 ATS as a favorite — all three victories came in non-conference play. Rutgers has been on the road just twice this season and have covered in both contests.
The offensive production for the Scarlet Knights has gone down significantly. They have scored exactly 13 points in each of the last three games. While the Wildcats might be down, a Pat Fitzgerald defense is always tough and will likely be better against the run then they have been this season so far. Rutgers has alternated between over and under in all six games this season. Most recently, they went under in a 31-13 loss to Michigan State.
Northwestern has played three overs in five games. This is partly because of the number being so low. Their offense is struggling and the Wildcats still have the reputation of a good defense. Northwestern has scored over 23 points just once this season.
The Wildcats are 1-4 ATS. The lone cover came in a 35-6 victory over Ohio. Most recently, the Wildcats were dominated 56-7 by Nebraska. Following the Ohio victory, Northwestern had two games that were going to be telling. The first did not go so well against the Cornhuskers and this is the second one.
It is a bit surprising to see Rutgers favored in this game but that is how down Northwestern is to this point. On paper, this is a game to stay away from but if you will be watching, you might as well throw something on the side you believe in. Right now, it is hard to believe in either one from a betting perspective.