NCAA Football Free Betting Preview: Michigan Wolverines vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

Two teams that prefer to keep the ball on the ground, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (+40) are taking on their conference counterpart Rutgers Scarlet Knights at HighPoint.com Stadium. The afternoon matchup kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET and BTN is scheduled to televise the action.

Betting Preview: Michigan Wolverines vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Michigan is significantly favored here and is currently giving up 40 points to Rutgers. Vegas has determined the over/under (O/U) to be 49 points, and if one squad finds paydirt in the early stages, it will likely create a nice live betting scenario.

With the game’s total initially set at 48, the early action has apparently swayed toward the over.

The surprising Wolverines are 6-3 against the spread (ATS) and have gained 4.5 units so far in 2018. The team’s posted an Over-Under record of 4-4-1.

The Scarlet Knights have lost 4.2 units this season. The team is 4-5 ATS and has an O/U record of 3-6.

The Wolverines have gone 8-1 straight up (SU), including 6-0 SU against Big 10 opponents. The Scarlet Knights are 1-8 SU overall and 0-6 SU in conference play.

Michigan enters this matchup on a zero-game losing skid while Rutgers has won zero in a row. The Wolverines hope to keep things rolling following a 42-7 win over Penn State last week. Shea Patterson completed 11-of-17 passes for only 144 yards and two touchdowns. Karan Higdon (132 yards on 20 rushes, one TD) and Chris Evans (57 yards on 12 carries, one TD) provided the ground attack while Donovan Peoples-Jones (three receptions, 38 yards, one TD) and Evans (three catches, 30 yards) manned the receiving duties in the win.

Rutgers just fell 31-17 to Wisconsin. The team’s defense let the Badgers eat up the clock by running for 317 yards on 46 rush attempts, including three rush TDs. Jonathan Taylor torched the defense, recording 208 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 27 attempts for Wisconsin. For Rutgers, Artur Sitkowski completed 20-of-39 passes for 261 yards and one touchdown. Raheem Blackshear had a monster day in the loss. In addition to 38 yards on 10 rush attempts, Blackshear also reeled in eight catches for 162 yards and a score.

Michigan has run the ball on 64.2 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Rutgers has an overall rush percentage of 50.1 percent. The Wolverines have run for 217.9 yards per game (including 233.0 per game against Big Ten opponents) and have 20 scores on the ground this year. The Scarlet Knights are totaling 124.4 rushing yards per game (106.0 in conference) and have 10 total rush TDs.

It seems like the Wolverines ought to have an edge when it comes to RB efficiency, since their running backs has produced 5.0 yards per carry while their defense is allowing a YPC of 2.8 to opponents. The Scarlet Knights have ran for 3.8 yards per carry and given up 5.6 yards per rush attempt to opponents.

The Wolverines offensive scheme has tallied 200.6 yards per game through the air overall (196.0 per game against conference opposition) and has 16 passing TDs so far. The Scarlet Knights have recorded 152.4 pass yards per contest (146 against Big 10 foes) and have four total pass scores.

Defensively, Michigan seems to have the upper hand in both facets. The team has allowed 93.9 rush yards and 122.3 pass yards per game. The Rutgers defense has allowed 180.4 yards per game to opposing passers and 234.3 yards per game on the ground. The Wolverines are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 2.45 to opponents, while the Scarlet Knights have allowed a 6.03 ANY/A.

Offensively, Patterson has put up 1,455 passing yards on the year. He’s completed 120-of-175 attempts with 12 passing scores and only three interceptions. He’s got a sparkling 7.90 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 9.31 over the last two games.

The Wolverines have tried to control tempo by getting the ball in the hands of their running backs. Along with Donovan Peoples-Jones (285 yards, six TDs), Karan Higdon (819 rush yards, seven rush TDs) and Chris Evans (247 rush yards, three rush TDs, 78 receiving yards) have brought significant production to the offensive gameplans for Michigan.

Artur Sitkowski has managed to complete 108-of-216 passes for 1,019 yards, four TDs and 15 INTs for Rutgers. His ANY/A sits at a very poor 1.68 for the year and 4.79 across his last two outings.

The Scarlet Knights will also try to control the game’s pace by turning to their backfield. Travis Vokolek (101 receiving yards, one TD) has gotten involved lately, but Raheem Blackshear (414 rush yards, two rush TDs, 308 receiving yards, two receiving TDs) and Isaih Pacheco (242 rush yards, one rush TD) have gotten plenty of looks recently.

These two squads faced off last year with the final result being a 35-14 win for Michigan.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Free Pick

SU Winner: Rutgers, ATS Winner: Rutgers, O/U: Over

Team Betting Trends

  • The Michigan defense has more than twice as many sacks as Rutgers this year (29 to 13).
  • The Rutgers offense has lost four fumbles in 2018 while the Michigan offense has let three get away.
  • The Wolverines offense has created seven pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Scarlet Knights have accounted for two such plays.
  • The Michigan defense has allowed two pass plays of 40+ yards, while Rutgers has given up five such plays.
  • The Michigan offense has created 19 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while Rutgers has created six such runs.
  • The Wolverines defense has allowed nine rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while the Scarlet Knights have given up 26 such runs.
  • The Over/Under for Rutgers’ previous game was set at 52.5. The under cashed in the 31-17 defeat to Wisconsin.
  • Over its last three matches, Rutgers is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in each of those three.
  • In its last three matches, Michigan is 3-0 ATS.
  • The Over/Under for Michigan’s last game going into it was 49. The O/U pushed in the team’s 42-7 victory over Penn State.
  • Michigan has averaged 5.0 yards per carry over its last three contests and 4.2 over its last two.
  • Rutgers has averaged 3.6 yards per carry over its last three games and 3.4 over its past two.