If you follow sports betting at all (and who doesn’t?), then you have probably heard of the rivalry between Penn State and Rutgers. The schools are located in the Northeastern United States, and their football fans are known to be among the most passionate in the country. There are several sports books that have set odds for the highly anticipated Penn State vs Rutgers football game. Here’s a breakdown of those odds including the current sports bookmaker rating for the game.
The teams will kick off at 12:00 PM ET on September 26th, and the game will be televised by NBC. Rutgers won the last three matchups between the two schools. The last meeting was a 42-40 victory for Rutgers in 2014. The game was so close that there were questions about whether or not to give it to overtime. The officials ruled that Penn State had indeed committed offensive pass interference. The Scarlet Knights went on to score the game-winning touchdown with seconds left on the clock.
Despite the victory, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien spoke highly of his former team, and he called the game an “old-fashioned slugfest.” Both coaches were ejected from the game due to head shots. It was later revealed that the head shots were intentional on the part of the opposing coaches. According to the Big Ten, the incidents were “unfortunate but also a teaching moment. Both coaches needed to be held accountable.”
Which School Will Triumph?
With all that background information, let’s take a look at the odds for this highly-anticipated rivalry showdown.
As of September 24th, there are a variety of online sports books that have adjusted their lines in anticipation of the upcoming game. While some books have moved in favor of Rutgers, others have taken the opposite position. Here’s a look at the current lay odds for the game:
- BettorsWorld.eu (-420) (+375) (+14.28%) on Penn State to win
- Bookmakers.com (-385) (+375) (+13.33%) on Penn State
- MyBookie.ag (-410) (+375) (+13.89%) on Penn State
Generally speaking, the betting public seems to be taking the view that it will be a close game. As of right now, there is significant interest in the underdogs, and that includes Penn State. Of course, you can’t blame the public for liking a team that is 0-5 ATS in Big Ten play. But a lot can change between now and then.
Where will the Points come From?
Another way to look at these lines is based on the betting market’s estimate of the eventual points spread. So, for example, if you look at Bookmakers.com’s odds, you’ll see that they consider the game to be a push, with Penn State as the favorite. In other words, the spread hasn’t been set yet, but the betting public is estimating that it will be narrow, in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 points.
In the same vein, BettorsWorld.eu has placed a huge emphasis on Penn State, as they are the favorite in every matchup this season. This is evident in the spread as well, as the betting public has pegged Penn State as a 15 point favorite in this matchup. And, if history serves as a guide, it’s probably good advice.
The Running O/U
Speaking of advice, it’s worth pointing out that the odds at this stage don’t take into account the teams’ collective running scores. This is important because, in all probability, one or both teams will run all over the other in this game. Especially considering that it’s early in the season, and the opposing teams haven’t faced a lot of adversity in their first five games. That being said, let’s take a look at the over/under on the total number of rushing plays in the game:
- (BettorsWorld.eu) (over) 3.5 plays (under) 4.5
- (5150Sports.com) (over) 4.5 plays (under) 5.5
- (Bookmakers.com) (over) 5.0 plays (under) 5.0
- (MyBookie.ag) (over) 5.0 plays (under) 5.0
As you can see, there is a good bit of interest in the over/under on the total number of running plays. Given that both teams are at least moderately-accurate running machines, this game is sure to be chock-full of run-pass options and short-yardage situations. So keep an eye on the number of runs and how effective the run game is expected to be. This could very well determine which team walks away with a W.
One other stat that you may find helpful is the betting trends for the two teams. If you scroll down to the bottom of both of their profiles, you’ll see a list of recent games, and you can get a good idea of what the betting public thinks about them. You’ll also see an estimate of how they are regarded statistically, including things like rebounds, assists, and steals. And if those aren’t things you care about, then you can also look at the teams’ respective winning percentages. This is an easy way to get an idea of how well each team is performing, and it may shine some light on which team is the favorite. For example, if you look at Bookmakers.com’s trends, you’ll see that they have a relatively even split of wins and losses. However, Penn State is a bit below.500, and that’s a trend that will likely keep changing as the season goes on. Especially since they are a very potent offensive machine, which makes them a bit more attractive to bet on. Not to mention that, historically, they play in a tough conference. That should make any Penn State fan proud. (And it should make any other team in the conference nervous.)
As you can see, the line movement over the last week or so has been pretty exciting. Bookmakers.com, for example, has moved in favor of Penn State, meaning the public has taken notice. Especially since a rivalry game between these two historically-unbeaten teams is always a top pick, assuming you have the betting line. (And if you don’t, then you should. You’ll be glad you did.)
When the dust clears from the ejections and the conference season begins to wind down, we’ll have a much better idea of who the real favorites are in this rivalry. For now, though, it is anyone’s game.