Michigan State Spartans at Rutgers Scarlet Knights Betting Preview
The No. 11 Michigan State Spartans look to continue their undefeated start to the 2021 season when they hit the road to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a Big Ten contest on Saturday. The game is scheduled for a noon ET kickoff at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, NJ.
The Spartans (5-0, 2-0) are coming off a 48-31 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday night. Rutgers (3-2, 0-2) enters this game on a two-game losing streak, having fallen to Ohio State 52-13 last weekend.
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Betting Odds & Betting Lines
According to BetUs, Michigan State Spartans are coming into the match as the favorites, priced at -210 to win, while Rutgers Scarlet Knights are +175 to take the W. BetOnline have pretty similar moneyline betting odds with -205 on Michigan State and +175 on Rutgers.
As for those interested in totals betting, the line is set at 51.0 points at both sportsbooks.
Michigan State’s surprisingly fast start has been powered by an offense that features the top rusher in the nation as well as the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards. Running back Kenneth Walker III paces the FBS in rushing yards with 680 yards and has scored eight touchdowns on the ground this season. He had 126 yards and three touchdowns against the Hilltoppers last Saturday night.
Wide receiver Jayden Reed has also been dynamic, scoring a punt-return touchdown for the second straight week in the win over Western Kentucky. Reed has a total of 883 all-purpose yards to lead the nation, including 20 receptions for 463 yards and five touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne has been solid to start the season, throwing for 1,236 yards, 11 touchdowns, and one interception. Thorne is completing 63.1 percent of his passes while also rushing for 77 yards and a pair of scores.
The Michigan State defense has taken a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy against the pass. The Spartans are allowing 308.8 yards per game through the air, but they also are tied for the Big Ten lead in sacks with 18.
The Scarlet Knights started 3-0 this season and played Michigan tight in a 20-13 loss on the road in Week 4, but last week was a different story. The Buckeyes scored 45 points in the first half against Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights’ offense couldn’t get much of anything going. That kind of slow start again this week could be devastating against the Spartans.
Quarterback Noah Vedral has thrown for 914 yards and six touchdowns this season, but he also had his first three interceptions of the campaign against the Buckeyes. He’ll need to cut down on dangerous throws in this one.
Running back Isaih Pacheco really struggled against Ohio State’s front line, managing just eight yards on six carries. That was after he gashed the Michigan defense for 107 yards on 20 carries the week prior, so the potential is there for Rutgers to control the game on the ground.
The Scarlet Knights’ receivers could find some open spaces against the Michigan State secondary, which could be good news for Bo Melton, who leads the team with 24 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Rutgers has only allowed six sacks this season, which will be tested against the Spartans’ defensive line.
Defensively, the Scarlet Knights must find a way to contain Walker and force Michigan State to beat them through the air. Getting some pressure up front will be a key to the upset bid.
Spartans Stay Undefeated
Rutgers has shown some fight this College Football season, but the Spartans just have too much offensive talent to be shut down by the Scarlet Knights. Look for another big game for Reed as Michigan State goes to the air to win this one and cover the spread.