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Rutgers vs. Michigan: NCAAF Week 4 betting odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

September 24th, 2021

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will try to remain undefeated when they visit the Big House on Saturday to face the Michigan Wolverines.

Let's examine this Big Ten matchup, beginning with the latest betting odds.

Sat, September 25 2021, 7:30 PM

Michigan

Moneyline

-1667

Spread

-20.5

Total

O 50

Rutgers

Moneyline

+750

Spread

+20.5

Total

U 50

Rutgers is 3-0 for first time in a decade

The Scarlet Knights are unbeaten through three games for the first time since 2012, and they enter this game feeling as though they have unfinished business against the Wolverines from last season. Rutgers was ahead 17 points in their matchup, but lost the game in triple overtime. A win against Michigan would also give them their first win over a ranked foe since 2009.

Part of Rutgers’ terrific start has been the Scarlet Knights' ability to protect the football and limit mistakes. They are the least-penalized team in the nation thus far, and they have yet to commit a turnover. Both of those numbers will be important in front of the hostile Big House crowd, which quarterback Noah Vedral will need to contend with. He threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan last season, the best game of his career, and the Scarlet Knights will need a repeat if they want to win. He is among the nation's leaders in completion percentage, but has failed to throw for more than 150 yards in two of his three games this year.

Rutgers’ defense will be hindered a bit, with head coach Greg Schiano suspending two starting defensive backs for an off-field incident. No offense they have faced this season will come close to comparing with what they will see Saturday, and against Delaware last weekend they conceded 159 yards rushing on just 34 carries. It could be a very long day for this unit.

Michigan excels at running the ball

Meanwhile, the Wolverines are off to an outstanding 3-0 start of their own, leading the nation in rushing with nearly eight yards per carry. Their lowest rushing total for a single game this season is 335 yards, and their two-headed monster of Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins are both averaging more than 93 yards per contest. Corum’s 136 yards per game is third-best in the nation, and he has found the end zone eight times already.

When he’s not handing the ball off, quarterback Cade McNamara is playing quite well. He has yet to throw an interception this season, and Michigan also has no turnovers so far this year. He threw for 260 yards and four touchdowns against Rutgers last year, and is completing 65% of his throws so far this campaign. McNamara will be facing a defense that has registered 14 sacks and eight turnovers, albeit against lower competition.

Michigan’s defense is better than anything Rutgers have seen this season, and they held Washington to just 10 points two weeks ago. They have yet to concede more than 14 points in any game this year, and their smallest margin of victory has been 21 points. They are allowing just 176 yards passing per game, and they have given up just one rushing touchdown all season.

Scarlet Knights and Betting Wolverines Trends

  • Rutgers is 5-0 ATS in its last five games as a road dog
  • The Under is 4-2 in Rutgers’ last six games
  • Michigan is 0-5 ATS in its last five conference games
  • The Under is 4-2 in Michigan’s last six home games
  • The Over is 7-0 in the last seven meetings between these teams

Rutgers will be outclassed on Saturday

Rutgers ranks 15th in the nation in time of possession this year, but ranks in the 80s in both passing yards and rushing yards, and only 108th in yards per play. The Scarlet Knights will be facing a Michigan defense that ranks 32nd in yards allowed per play, and the Wolverines rank sixth in the nation in yards per play. The Wolverines will limit the chances Rutgers’ offense will have, and I don’t think the Scarlet Knights will have enough firepower to stay with them should they fall behind.

Michigan is beyond a prohibitive favorite, so there is no value to be found in the moneyline. However, I like Michigan to dominate the first half, and Michigan -10.5 presents solid value at -121 odds. For those looking to build a Same Game Combo, knock Michigan’s spread down to -16.5 and the over to 49.5, and combine them for a +150 parlay.

Score prediction: Michigan 38, Rutgers 13

NCAAF Week 4 Picks: MICHIGAN 1H -10.5 (-121); SAME GAME COMBO MICH -16.5 and O 49.5 (+150)

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