Ohio State vs. Rutgers kicks off this Saturday (11/04/23) at noon EST in Piscataway, New Jersey as a home game for the Scarlet Knights. Get Ohio State vs. Rutgers predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on the under in what should be a battle between two stout defenses.
Ohio State Vs. Rutgers Prediction
Ohio State is your new No. 1 team in the nation after the release of the first College Football Playoff rankings. They have the best resume as of this writing, beating the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin. Still, these rankings mean little. Much will change once the top teams start facing each other. Michigan looms large while even Rutgers can give the Buckeyes a run for their money.
The Scarlet Knights have quietly put together an impressive start, sitting at 6-2 and fourth in the Big Ten East. This is in large part because the Scarlet Knights beat opposing defenses down with a heavy dose of the run, and limit offensive success with a very good defense. This gives them the ability to command time of possession while also limiting scoring. Rutgers ranks 19th in Def Points per Opportunity.
Punching the ball into the end zone has been a struggle for Ohio State. The Buckeyes rank 60th in Points per Opportunity. Limiting points when inside the red zone is exactly what an under bettor needs in order to create swings toward their favor. Rutgers will have no issue sitting on the ball and limiting the number of possessions Ohio State gets.
Rutgers poses little threat to ruin the under as Ohio State fields an elite defense. Rutgers will want to run the ball down the Ohio State defense, yet the Buckeyes metrics suggest that may come at a premium. Ohio State ranks 13th in Def Rush Success Rate, 12th in Def Pass PPA and 46th in Def Rush Explosiveness.
Rutgers play callers may implement a heavier dose of the pass, an area of the offensive struggles. Gavin Wimsatt has failed to get the pass attack going as Rutgers currently ranks 108th in Pass Success Rate and 117th in PPA. With zero fear of finding success through the air, and a knack for taking care of the ball (they rank fourth in Havoc Allowed) expect Ohio State to have no issue with keeping Rutgers offense out of the end zone.
Ohio State Vs. Rutgers Prediction: Under 42.5
Ohio State Vs. Rutgers Best Odds
Even with Rutgers putting together a great season, oddsmakers believe they are still of no threat to Ohio State. They opened the Buckeyes as a -19 favorite. Bettors believe that number opened a tad too high, backing the Scarlet Knights down to -18.5 as of this writing. With a defense capable of slowing them down, Rutgers may be a look at no lower than +17.5.
Oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a sluggish pace as they opened the total at 42.5. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the number, keeping the total the same since the opener. This is heavily predicated toward Rutgers being able to slow Ohio State down as well as continue to drain the clock with a heavy dose of the run.
Ohio State Vs. Rutgers Key Matchups
Can the Rutgers secondary slow down Kyle McCord and the OSU pass attack?
Kyle McCord Vs. Rutgers Secondary
It’s not enough for just Ohio State to negate the Rutgers offense. The Scarlet Knights defense will need to slow down Kyle McCord and Marvin Harrison Jr. in order to clear this under. While not as lethal as ijn years past, the OSU pass attack is still above average per advanced metrics.
Kyle McCord to Marvin Harrison Jr for the 16-yard TD. Ohio State up 10-0 pic.twitter.com/6R4iX2WAsZ
— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) October 29, 2023
Lucky for under bettors, Rutgers secondary is more than capable of slowing down the OSU pass attack. The Scarlet Knights rank 13th in Def Pass PPA, 38th in Success Rate and first in Explosiveness. That means Ohio State may find short success in the mid field, but will be prone to sputtering as they enter scoring position. This bleeds time off the clock as well as limit points up on the board.