Rutgers vs Penn State Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Nittany Lions Nix Knights

Penn State just can't get over the hump that is Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten, but they can clean up against conference bottom-feeders like Rutgers, as our college football betting picks explain.

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2023 7:44 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Drew Allar Penn State NCAAF
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Two Big Ten teams looking to recover from disappointing losses will face off when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights visit the Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley on Saturday afternoon.

Rutgers (6-4) is coming off a shutout loss at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Penn State (8-2) saw any hopes of a Big Ten title go down the drain last weekend with its 24-15 home loss to the Michigan Wolverines. 

The Nittany Lions have historically dominated this matchup, but their conservative play-calling last week may leave some bettors wondering if they can cover the heavy spread set by the college football odds this weekend. 

We’ll take a deeper look at this game in our free college football picks and predictions for Rutgers vs. Penn State on Saturday, November 18. 

Rutgers vs Penn State best odds

Rutgers vs Penn State picks and predictions

Coming off an 11-2 season last year, the Penn State Nittany Lions entered 2023 with dreams of competing in the National Championship odds. But once again, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines were just too difficult for Penn State to overcome. The Nittany Lions have once again been relegated to third-best in the Big Ten, unable to compete with the two squads that are becoming perennial College Football Playoff hopefuls. 

One major concern in big games has been head coach James Franklin’s conservative approach on offense. As a result, Penn State fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich after the loss to Michigan. In two games against the Wolverines and the Buckeyes this year, Penn State combined for just 27 points.

That said, when the Nittany Lions take on inferior competition, they tend to run up the score. Those 27 points are less than Penn State has scored in any other single game this year. While no individual aspect of the Penn State offense stands out as being dominant, the team scores 37.7 points per game, good for 15th in the country.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights might have something to say about that. Rutgers has allowed more than 24 points to only Michigan and Ohio State this year. However, Iowa — a team so offensively challenged that they managed to hit the Under on a 27.5-point total while dominating Rutgers last week — put up 22 points against them. 

Much of Rutgers’ defensive success came against weaker teams like the Northwestern Wildcats, Temple Owls, and Wagner Seahawks, all of whom the Scarlet Knights held to seven points or fewer. 

While Rutgers may have the raw numbers to suggest they are an elite defensive team, their performances against superior opponents tell a different story. Kyle McCord lit up the Scarlet Knights for three touchdowns, while Michigan’s Blake Corum scored twice on the ground against them. 

Penn State has the kind of disciplined, balanced offense that should overwhelm a less athletic, less talented Rutgers defense. Drew Allar has thrown 21 touchdown passes against just a single interception, while five different Nittany Lions have run for at least two touchdowns this year. 

Add in the fact that Penn State will want to prove it can move the ball the week after firing its offensive coordinator, and this looks like another game in which the Nittany Lions will run up the score against a weaker opponent. 

Meanwhile, a mediocre Rutgers offense will run into a brick wall against a Penn State defense that’s allowing just 13.1 points per game. Even with the big spread, I love the Nittany Lions on Saturday.

My best bet: Penn State -20.5 (-108 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Rutgers vs Penn State same-game parlay

Penn State -20.5

Over 41.5

Penn State -3.5 1Q

I like Penn State to win this game going away, and I expect them to want to prove their offensive prowess as early as possible. That’s why my same-game parlay includes a full-time spread bet as well as a wager on the Nittany Lions to cover the first quarter line. If they can find the end zone in the first 15 minutes, they should be able to beat the 3.5-point spread without much trouble.

I’m rounding out my SGP by taking the Over at 41.5. Given the success that Penn State has generally had on offense, they may well cover that number on their own. Even if Rutgers only contributes 7-10 points, that should be enough to easily push the game total near 50, well above the number we need. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Rutgers vs Penn State spread and Over/Under analysis

Penn State opened as a 19-point favorite in Saturday’s game. That number has been pushed to nearly three touchdowns, with most books now posting Penn State -20.5 as the main spread. You can get a slight discount on the Nittany Lions at a few sites, with the best price I’ve seen being -108.

Both teams have played well against the spread this year. Rutgers has posted a 6-2-2 ATS record, while Penn State has been even better with a 7-3 ATS mark on the season.

I’ve made Penn State my best bet for this game. I just haven’t seen anything out of Rutgers that suggests they can either score against an elite defense, or hold down a strong offensive team for 60 minutes. The Nittany Lions have made a habit of blowing out lesser foes this year, winning six games by at least three touchdowns.

The total for this game opened at 42.5. That number has come down a bit, with the consensus Over/Under now sitting at 41.5. If you’re inclined to play the Under, you can still find that original 42.5 number at some sites. Meanwhile, other books have gone as low at a flat 41, leaving bettors with plenty of options on this market.

Penn State has played slightly below the total this year, with the Under going 6-4 in its games. Rutgers is an even 5-5 on the Over/Under so far this season.

While these teams both sport strong defenses, I think this number is a bit too low. The Penn State offense scores against just about everyone, and Rutgers shouldn’t be an exception to that rule, as the Scarlet Knights have struggled to slow their best opponents. Penn State will do the heavy lifting on the scoreboard, but that’s enough for me to lean towards the Over.

Rutgers vs Penn State betting trend to know

Penn State is 3-0 against the spread in its last three meetings with Rutgers. Find more college football betting trends for Rutgers vs Penn State.

Rutgers vs Penn State game info

Location: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Date: Saturday, November 18, 2023
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ET

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