Rutgers at Cincinnati Odds
This Saturday the Cincinnati Bearcats will host the No. 22 ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a key Big East matchup. Rutgers dominated the Bearcats 20-3 at home last season. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 EST at High Point Solutions Stadium and will be televised on the Big East Network. Oddsmakers have listed Cincinnati as a 6.5-point home favorite with the total set at 47 points.
Why Rutgers Will Cover:
The Scarlet Knights were able to rebound from a shocking 23-35 loss at home to Kent State with a 28-7 victory over Army this past weekend. Rutgers improved to 8-1 overall and come into this game undefeated in Big East play at 4-0. It certainly comes as a surprise to see the Scarlet Knights listed as an underdog of 6.5 points against a team they dominated last year. It’s not the first time this season oddsmakers have listed Rutgers as an underdog on the road. They were 7.5-point dogs in a 23-13 win at USF and 8.5-point dogs in a 35-26 win at Arkansas.
It’s hard to not like your chances on the Scarlet Knights at least keeping this game close enough to cover the number. All four of Rutgers’ win inside the conference have come by at least 10-points and you really can’t look into that loss to Kent State much, as that game really didn’t mean a whole lot to this team. Even if Rutgers went undefeated they likely wouldn’t play in the BCS Championship Game. Their main objective is to win the Big East and earn that automatic spot in a BCS Bowl game.
Any time you have a dominant defense like Rutgers getting almost a touchdown you have to like your chances, especially when you look at how the Scarlet Knights stack up against the Cincinnati offense. The Bearcats strength has been a rushing attack that ranks 16th in the country at 226.8 ypg. The Scarlet Knights defensively are only giving up 110.0 ypg on the ground, which is the 18th best mark in the nation. An even closer look shows that they are only allowing 82.3 rushing yards on average in conference play. Last year the Scarlet Knights held Cincinnati to just 67 yards on 28 attempts, for an average of just 2.4 yards/carry.
Rutgers has been an excellent team to back on the road, especially against quality opponents. The Scarlet Knights are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Why Cincinnati Will Cover
The Bearcats come into this game off a 34-10 blowout win at Temple to improve their overall record to 7-2 and 3-1 inside the Big East. While Cincinnati has already lost to Louisville, they still have an excellent shot at winning the conference if the can hold serve at home against the Scarlet Knights, especially considering Louisville still has to go on the road to face Rutgers.
If you are wondering why oddsmakers have listed the Bearcats as such a big favorite in a what many would expect to be a close hard fought game, you simply have to look at how well Cincinnati has played at home this season. They are 5-0 this season with all five wins coming by at least 11 points. The Bearcats have one of the biggest home field advantages in the nation, and it appears to me oddsmakers are playing that more than anything. They could have set this line at 3.5 or even 4.5 and still got the public to side with the ranked Scarlet Knights. It’s almost as if they are begging you to take Rutgers, which is typically a good sign that the smart money should be on Cincinnati.
The fact that Rutgers is so strong against the run would seem like a bad thing for Cincinnati, but history tells us otherwise. The Bearcats are 16-5 ATS in home games versus good rushing defenses – allowing <=120 rushing yards/game since 1992. They are also an impressive 14-4 ATS over their last 18 games as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points.