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Michigan State Spartans vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by October 6, 2021
Michigan State

Rutgers was steamrolled last week as they hosted Big10 powerhouse Ohio State, 52-13. Michigan State enters fresh off a 48-31 drubbing of Western Kentucky. For the Scarlet Knights, a bowl appearance would be a massive boost for their program. Meanwhile, the Spartans have grander plans, like crashing the College Football Playoff party. They sit just outside of the AP Top 10 with a 5-0 record. One of these two Big10 teams will take a small stride toward their goals this Saturday in New Jersey.

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Pags’ NCAAF Picks YTD: 16-5-1 (+10.3 units)

Details

  • Opening Line: Michigan State -6
  • Current Line: Michigan State -5
  • Over/Under: 50
  • Location: SHI Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
  • Start Time: 12:00 PM ET
  • Last Meeting: Rutgers 38, Michigan State 27

Overview

Rutgers needs to help out their QB by rushing effectively. So far, the Knights rushers have gone for 3.6 yards per carry and have no big plays to speak of. Their longest rush on the year is for 26 yards. When they’ve faced two Big10 programs (Michigan and Ohio State) this year, QB Noah Vedral has averaged 154 passing yards and 2 INTs. Against a formidable Spartan pass rush, the Rutgers starter will have to improve on his 78.2 passer rating under pressure. On a positive note, RU went into East Lansing and came away victorious the last time these two schools squared up. 

For Michigan State, that loss to open 2020 is fresh on their mind. Rutgers forced seven turnovers, leading to 21 points for the visitors. Rest assured that practice will lean heavily on ball security drills this week. The Spartan offense has been a revelation in 2021. The unit was pegged as a boom or bust situation pending the play of their QB Payton Thorne. And boom, he has been. Thorne is averaging 247 yards per game with 11 TDs to just 1 INT on the year.

Meanwhile, the two-headed backfield monster of RBs Kenneth Walker III and Jayden Reed has allowed their QB the luxury of solo coverages. The rushing game has been just as good as the air game. Now, they get a defense that let up 541 yards last week — look out.

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Trends

  • Michigan State is 3-0-2 ATS in their last 5 games overall
  • Totals have gone UNDER in 6 of the last 8 games between MSU and RU
  • Rutgers is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 HOME games as an UNDERDOG
  • Visitors in this series are 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between MSU and RU
  • Michigan State leads the all-time series 8-4

Bottom Line

This line is begging us to take Michigan State. Somehow it’s moved a point in their direction too. Rutgers looked overmatched last week against Ohio State, and the Spartan’s offense might be more polished than the Buckeyes’. Our favorite bet in this contest is MSU -5. The total is a little more troubling. Will Rutgers score enough to hit the 50 point number? That will depend on how well they can protect their QB. We lean the UNDER, but regardless, stick with a 0.5 unit wager.

Prediction: Michigan State 28, Rutgers 20

The Picks: Michigan State -5 | 1.0 units, UNDER 50 | 0.5 units

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Aaron Pags is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyTriage.

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