Rutgers opened up as the underdog in Wednesday night’s First Four matchup with Notre Dame. Both teams enter as an 11 seed vying for a shot in the Round of 64 on Friday. When looking at the First Four, this might be the most even matchup of the round.
The Scarlet Knights were a one-point favorite over Notre Dame, according to DraftKings early this morning. However, now they’ve shifted to a one point underdog. Rutgers can be taken at -105 on the money line while the Fighting Irish are at -115. The total for the game is now 134. Here is a screenshot of the odds as of 10:30 a.m.
When looking at the head-to-head matchup, neither team did particularly well on neutral floors. Rutgers did not have much success away from Jersey Mike’s Arena going 0-1 on neutral courts and 4-9 on the road. Notre Dame was 1-4 on neutral floors over the course of the season.
The Fighting Irish were 16-15 ATS this season while Rutgers was 13-16-2. The way it has gone for Rutgers is that when they win games, they cover. In a difficult Big Ten, the Scarlet Knights know what it is like to be the underdog and have played well in that role. Here, the game is as even as it gets. Rutgers is 1-3-1 ATS since their four-game win streak against ranked teams.
As for Notre Dame, they have covered for of their last five games and seven of 10. Of those last 10 games, the Irish have gone over the total six times with one push. Something will have to give in this game. The total will be dependent on Rutgers. When the Scarlet Knights make shots, the number will go over. It sounds simplistic but those who know Rutgers know what this means.
Neither team lights up the scoreboard but can get hot at times. Also, this has a chance to be a defensive battle that is ugly early on. If there is a side to take, lean under. It is hard t bounce back from that bad start.
As for a team, Rutgers comes in as the second-to-last team that was picked to participate in the tournament. The Scarlet Knights have relished in that underdog role all season and have one more chance to do it. Getting a point in this one seems minuscule, take the money line and try your best to enjoy the game.