It is the start of Big Ten play for Michigan as they face Rutgers. It is time to continue our College Football odds series with a Rutgers-Michigan prediction, pick, and how-to watch.
Rutgers enters the game at 3-0 and 1-0 in Big Ten plays. This is the third straight year that Rutgers has started 3-0. In the last two years, they have had a combined three wins after the 3-0 starts. This year they started with a win in conference play, taking down Northwestern. The defense continued to be impressive the next week against Temple, as they won 36-7. Then, they capped their first three games with a win over Virginia Tech. The defense has been great this year, allowing just 30 points in three games. Meanwhile, they have scored over 30 points in two games, and have scored 95 points in the first three games.
Michigan will see Jim Harbaugh return to the sideline this weekend. Michigan is also 3-0 on the year but with a fairly easy schedule. All three games were at home, and they used the games as warm-ups. They were slow in tempo and used multiple strings of players in the three wins. Michigan faced East Carolina, UNLV, and Bowling Green in the three games, winning a combined 96-16.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Rutgers-Michigan Odds
Rutgers: +24.5 (-115)
Michigan: -24.5 (-105)
Over: 43.5 (-115)
Under: 43.5 (-105)
How to Watch Rutgers vs. Michigan
TV: Big Ten Network
Stream: Fox Sports App
Time: 12:00 PM ET/ 9:00 AM PT
*Watch college football LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Rutgers Will Cover The Spread
For Rutgers, this game is all going to start on defense. They have been solid all year long, with their worst game coming last week against Virginia Tech, but it was still a solid game. In that game, they were able to get solid pressure on the quarterback. They had 23 quarterback pressures in the game with four sacks. Rutgers was led by Aaron Lewis, who had five pressures and a sack in the game. This quality of defense is becoming the norm for him. He has 13 pressures and a sack in three games, while also having four stops for offensive failures. Meanwhile, Rutgers had 23 stops for offensive failures in the last game, led by Tyreem Powell. He had eight in the game, giving him 15 for the season.
While Rutgers will have their hands full with the likes of JJ McCarthy and Blake Corum, the offense will have to work through a great Michigan defense. Gavin Wimsatt will be looking to step up to that challenge. This year Wimsatt is 34-66 passing for 398 yards. He had three touchdowns as well and has not thrown an interception. Wimsatt has only thrown one turnoverworthy pass all year. He has also been protected well, being pressured just 18 times this year on 72 dropbacks. That has led to Wimsatt being sacked just once this year. Meanwhile, through scrambles and designed runs, he has rushed for 135 yards and two scores.
Rutgers will also be hoping to control the game on the ground. Kyle Monangai has been the star for Rutgers on the ground. This year he has 357 yards on the ground with five touchdowns on just 58 attempts. He has gotten solid blocking, this year as well, having his first spot of contact an average over two yards downfield. Monangai has also been ellusive. He has forced 18 missed tackles this year. He has eight runs of over 15 yards and another three over 10 yards.
Why Michigan Will Cover The Spread
If Michigan is going to cover, JJ McCarthy has to be a lot better than he was last week. On the year McCarthy is 56-68 for 701 yards and seven touchdowns. According to PFF, he had made seven big-time throws this year. For the most part, he has been highly accurate, completing over 85 percent of passes in the first two games. Last game he struggled though. McCarthy threw three interceptions in the game and completed just 61.5 percent of passes. He also had a fumble in the game. If McCarthy can get back to his first two games, Michigan can easily cover.
As McCarthy struggled last game, Blake Corum stepped up. Last game he ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He caused three missed tackles in the games and got solid blocking. His average point of first contact was three yards beyond the line of scrimmage. On the year he has six touchdowns on the year as well. Meanwhile, Donovan Edwards had been solid this year as well. He has rushed 27 times for 96 yards. He struggled against UNLV, but in the other two, he ran well. Still, he has been taking too much time getting to the line. He is averaging an average point of contract just 1.3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, and much of that is trying to make too many moves in the backfield.
The defense for Michigan has been amazing this year. Michigan could use some more pressure on the quarterback, having just 16 quarterback pressures last week, but they did convert that into four sacks. Jaylen Harrell had one of the sacks, and this year has been rushing the passer well. He has six quarterback pressures and three sacks on the year. He also has five stops for offensive failures. Last week Michigan had 34 stops for offensive failures while missing just six tackles. They have done a good job all year long of keeping the play in front of them and making sound tackles.
Final Rutgers-Michigan Prediction & Pick
Last week Michigan won by 25 points even with JJ McCarthy struggling. Rutgers is going to be a step up in competition, but with Jim Harbaugh back they will be looking to fire on all cylinders. On defense, Michigan has allowed just six points in the first three-quarters of games. They also have allowed just one touchdown all year long, and that was with backups in and Michigan up 35-0. Michgan's defense is a much bigger test for Rutgers. They have not done great on offense, but have been efficient enough with short fields to score plenty of points. That will not happen in this game. Expect lots of points from Michigan as they easily cover the spread.
Final Rutgers-Michigan Prediction & Pick: Michigan -24.5 (-105)