Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Temple Owls Week 1
It’s finally here. College Football is back and, for the most part, back to being what it was pre-pandemic. The fans are in the stands, the tailgating is back, and most importantly, games are being played as they are scheduled. So find those sportsbooks and check out the early season betting lines.
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The home team led by second-year (for this stint) head coach, Greg Schiano, finished the 2020 campaign at 3-6. While that record may not seem impressive on the surface, Rutgers showed more fight last season than in most of their time since joining the Big Ten, and their three wins tied the high water mark for conference wins.
All three of the Scarlet Knight’s wins came on the road, and the team finished 80th in points per game which was a vast improvement from their bottom ten finishes in each of the previous four seasons.
2020 was not kind to a Temple program that has had sustained success despite the carousel of coaches that have followed that success to bigger opportunities. Coaches Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins led the Owls to four consecutive winning seasons before eventually ending up with the Carolina Panthers and Georgia Tech, respectively.
Temple finished the season with a 1-6 record under Rod Carey and ranked near the bottom nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Owls’ one win came in a nail-biter against South Florida, who finished the season without a win over an FBS opponent.
The Betting Lines:
All of the major sportsbooks have this game right around a two-touchdown contest favoring Rutgers at home. BetOnline has the Scarlet Knights at -13.5, Bovada has them at two touchdowns exactly at -14, and BetUS has them just a touch above at -14.5.
All three of the sportsbooks agree on the total points number, having the over/under set at 51.5 points. Overall the feeling on the game leans Rutgers in a low-scoring affair.
This feels like a game that Rutgers should handle with ease. Despite not winning a game at home last season, the Scarlet Knights showed promise that the program hasn’t seen during their time in the Big Ten. Rutgers is bringing back 20 starters from last year’s team, including graduate transfer quarterback Noah Verdal, who is taking advantage of the NCAA allowance of an extra year of eligibility.
On the other hand, Temple ranks 125 out of 127 teams in terms of returning production combined on both sides of the ball. This may serve the team well, coming off a 1-6 record last season, but expectations should be low to start the season.
Getting the line at -13.5 from BetOnline is the play here. It could be worth monitoring to see if either of the other sportsbooks trend below the two touchdown threshold, but this is a great betting line to grab before it possibly increases. There should be a comfort here up to -17 before this recommendation would need any adjustment, so there could be value in waiting to see if the line goes down.
Betting the over/under points total is a bit trickier. 51.5 points says that the oddsmakers feel this game is for the offensively challenged. Temple averaged just over 10 points per game over their final four games in 2020, and Rutgers averaged right at 23 points during the same span. Totals this low usually mean stay away, but it would be the under if there was a lean to either side.