The Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2) host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-9) this weekend for a BIG 10 East battle from University Park, Pennsylvania. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM EST on November 30th at Beaver Stadium and the game will be broadcast on the BIG 10 Network.
Taking a look at the Week 14 college football odds, Penn State opened as a massive 38.5-point home favorite earlier this week. The spread has increased by over a full point after early betting, as the Nittany Lions are currently available at -40.5. The total for the game is sitting at 50 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Penn State vs Rutgers
Rutgers lost their third straight game last weekend, falling 27-0 at home against Michigan State to drop to just 2-9 on the season overall. The Scarlet Knights gave up ten unanswered points in the first quarter and never recovered, getting completely shut out on offense the entire game. QB Johnny Langan certainly wasn’t at his best, throwing an interception and going just 8/20 for 57 passing yards. Langan also led the way on the ground, rushing for 49 yards on a team-high 14 carries. Isaih Pacheco also chipped in, making two receptions for a team-high 25 yards. Overall, Rutgers gained well under 150 total yards of offense against a rock-solid Spartans defense.
The Scarlet Knights also had a rough outing on the other side of the ball against Michigan State, surrendering 399 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. Rutgers had no answer for Spartans WR Cody White, as he torched the secondary for 136 yards and three touchdowns on a game-high 11 catches.
Penn State has now lost two out of their last three games after a tough 28-17 road defeat against #2 overall Ohio State last weekend. The Nittany Lions gave up 14 unanswered points in the first half and it was all downhill from there, coming up over a touchdown short on the scoreboard as time expired. QB Sean Clifford didn’t do much through the air, going 10/17 for 71 passing yards. RB Journey Brown managed to find the end zone on the ground, hitting pay dirt on one of his 11 carries for 64 yards. KJ Hamler led the way for the receiving corps, hauling in three catches for 45 yards. As a whole, Penn State generated under 250 total yards of offense and scored two touchdowns in the loss.
The Nittany Lions were average at best defensively against a high-flying Ohio State offense, giving up over 400 total yards of offense and four touchdowns. Penn State couldn’t find a way to slow down Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins on the ground, allowing him to rack up 157 yards and two touchdowns on a game-high 36 carries.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Rutgers +40.5
A case could easily be made for avoiding this BIG 10 East clash entirely, as both the spread and the total currently look very accurate to me. While I would have probably decided to lay the points and roll with the massive home favorite when Penn State opened at -38.5, the market has moved the number all the way up to 40.5. There really doesn’t seem to be a lot of value against the spread anymore, although at this point I’m leaning more towards taking the boatload of points and hoping that Rutgers finds a way to grind out a backdoor cover during garbage time. A similar situation occurred when the Scarlet Knights played Ohio State a couple of weeks ago, as they fell behind by 40+ points before scoring two late touchdowns for an ugly cover.
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Again, the best play in this matchup is probably just avoiding the situation altogether instead of rolling the dice with either side against the spread. The total also looks pretty bang on, as Penn State will likely put up between 40-45 points on their own. That makes me lean slightly towards the OVER on 50 total points scored, as the Scarlet Knights would only have to put up a single touchdown and maybe kick a field goal as well. However, the Nittany Lions defense has been very solid through the first 13 weeks of the season, so I’m not so sure that Rutgers will find a way to score more than 7-10 points – and that’s if they don’t get shutout entirely, which is always a possibility. Ultimately, I’d rather take my chances with the road underdog and the 40.5 points against the spread in a game that could easily end 45-7 or 52-14.