Rutgers makes its much-anticipated return to the field on Saturday afternoon against Temple at SHI Stadium in Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights will play in front of a full stadium for the first time since Greg Schiano’s return and they will do so as big favorites.
This line has not fluctuated much since coming out in July, but Rutgers has gone up a bit. They are currently -625 on the money line and a 14.5-point favorite against the Owls, according to BetOnline.
Rutgers finished 3-6 in 2020, with all three victories coming on the road. The Scarlet Knights were much better against the spread. In all three of their wins, against Michigan State, Maryland, and Purdue, Rutgers entered as underdogs. Overall, it was 5-4 against the spread (ATS). This also included staying within 38 points of Ohio State in Week 3. In certain cases, it will be smart to take Rutgers getting 37.5 points, but take the Buckeyes in the first half — but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Like Rutgers, the Owls were better ATS but just barely. Temple was 1-6 overall and finished 2-5 ATS. They were able to stay within the number in losses to both UCF and Memphis. In their only win of the season, a 39-37 victory, Temple was unable to cover as they were 14-point favorites against South Florida.
When looking at the total, it is set at 51.5. Neither team is known for its explosive offense but Rutgers was much improved on this side of the ball last season. The Scarlet Knights scored 26.7 points per game in 2020, which was a major jump from the year before. Temple averaged just 19.9 and was held under 10 points twice.
In 2020, Rutgers had five games go over and the other four stayed under the number. For what it is worth, the first three games of the season for the Scarlet Knights went over and four of the final six were unders. Rutgers scored 30 or more points three times last season and they all went over. It is expected that if the Scarlet Knights put up points, the game will likely go over.
This can be assumed in the Big Ten, since all teams can score, but Temple struggled to put points on the board last season. The Owls had three of their seven games go under, with one being a push against Memphis. Temple allowed 30 or more points five times last season and 40 or more twice.
On Saturday, Rutgers will be the more-talented team with a ton of returning production on both sides of the ball. Temple will feature a new quarterback in D’Wan Mathis and plenty of transfers. This could make for an ugly start but the Owls should be able to compete in this one.
When looking at both the spread and total, tread lightly. Rutgers should come out on top in this one but the question will be, by how much? The 14.5-point mark is a tough one to trust and it is not a bad spot to buy that down to 14. If you believe the Scarlet Knights can win this game by three scores, take Rutgers and don’t look back.