It's time for some college football action as the Northwestern Wildcats face off with the Rutgers Scarlett Knights. We are here to share our college football odds series, make a Northwestern-Rutgers prediction and pick, while showing you how to watch.
The Wildcats went 1-11, including 0-8 in the Big Ten conference. Now, they are hoping for better results and cannot go any lower than they have already gone. David Braun is the interim head coach after Northwestern fired Pat Fitzgerald due to hazing allegations. Therefore, the school hopes for a fresh start.
Ryan Hilinski returns for another season after passing for 1,644 yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions. However, running back Evan Hull is gone after the Indianapolis Colts drafted him in the fifth round. But Cam Porter returns after rushing 87 times for 286 yards and two scores on a 3.3 yards per carry rate. Likewise, Raymond Nero III returns after catching five catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Calvin Johnson II looks to take the next step after catching two passes for 23 yards and no scores. The defense gets a big piece back, as Xander Mueller returns after generating 53 solo tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions.
Rutgers went 4-8, including 1-8 in the Big Ten conference. George Schiano has been the head coach since 2019. Unfortunately, he has gone 12-22 during his second run as head coach while going 80-89 during his two combined runs as head coach at Rutgers. He hopes to finally turn this team around and get his first winning record since his first stint at Rutgers. Also, he has a new offensive coordinator as Kirk Cirarrocca joins the squad.
Western Illinois transfer Naseim Brantley hopes to make an impact with his new school after catching 54 receptions for 893 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Furthermore, he will catch passes for quarterback Gavin Winsatt, who threw for 757 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions last year.
Rutgers leads the all-time series 3-2. However, Northwestern has won the last two. The Wildcats won the last meeting 21-7.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of BetRivers
College Football Odds: Northwestern-Rutgers Odds
Northwestern: +6.5 (-110)
Rutgers: -6.5 (-110)
Over: 47 (-110)
Under: 47 (-110)
How to Watch Northwestern vs. Rutgers
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Why Northwestern Will Cover The Spread
Northwestern needs a better performance from Hillinski. Ultimately, it all starts with the passing game. The Wildcats need to see what they have in Hillinski. Thus, this game will be a good stepping stone to start things off. Porter is the main guy now after the guy in front of him has departed for the NFL. Now, he is key and must show that he is ready to take the reigns. Nero and Johnson will be the new playmakers on offense. Furthermore, their ability to catch passes will be an indicator of how well this offense will gel. This offense had 31 turnovers last season. Consequently, it cost them plenty of games.
But this defense could generate more turnovers. Mueller is the main weapon on defense. Hence, all eyes will be on him to see what he can do. He lead the team in three categories and will likely once again carry the team.
Northwestern will cover the spread if they can establish the ground game and avoid turnovers. Then, the defense must make adjustments and play efficiently.
Why Rutgers Will Cover The Spread
The offense was a significant issue last season. Therefore, they hope Winsatt can take the next step in his game and give the Scarlett Knights a boost on offense. Winsatt must avoid making mistakes. Furthermore, Brantley must prove he can perform in the Big Ten.
Rutgers collapsed often in the third quarter last season. Significantly, opponents outscored them 103-46 in the third quarter last season. The Scarlett Knights must learn to make adjustments at halftime. Moreover, they have to perform better in the red zone. Rutgers allowed 95 percent of scoring chances to occur in the red zone. Thus, they must make some adjustments when their defense gets in the red zone.
Ruthers will cover the spread if they can play efficiently on offense and make adjustments at the half. Then, they cannot allow Northwestern to score when they get in the red zone.
Final Northwestern-Rutgers Prediction & Pick
Both teams are bad. However, Ruthers is an example of a team that is not as bad as Northwestern. The Wildcats also have a new coach after a major scandal. Subsequently, Rutgers will do just enough to cover the spread in this one.
Final Northwestern-Rutgers Prediction & Pick: Rutgers: -6.5 (-110)