Sometimes, a bet comes down to how the person placing the wager feels about a time-honored football debate. Is a quarterback a product of a system and supporting cast, or the other way around? Is a team with a strong defense more reliable than one with a high-flying offense? And so on.
For this Saturday’s Big Ten game between Purdue and Rutgers, it may boil down (excuse the pun) to how bettors feel about margin-of-victory. In one aspect, the teams are having similar seasons – losing to every ranked school they play, and otherwise scraping along without much of a chance to win their divisions.
But if “quality losses” are a thing, then Rutgers deserves more than the 9 and 1/2 points bookies are giving them.
Who: Purdue Boilermakers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
When: Saturday, October 21st, 12 PM EST
Where: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
Lines: Purdue (-9.5) at Rutgers (+9.5) / O/U Total: (48)
There’s no question that Purdue has looked better in wins, and less-bad in losses, than the Scarlet Knights. The Knights’ only blow-out win of the season came against Morgan State, an FCS school. 2 Saturdays ago, they lost to Ohio State 59-0 in a game that (we say this only half-jokingly) wasn’t as close as the score indicates.
But Rutgers at least has a game plan, and they’re sticking to it. Louisville transfer-QB Kyle Bolin has been having a miserable season and his potential replacement, Giovanni Rescigno, is hurt and could be unavailable for the next couple of games. So, the Knights are keeping it on the ground. In last week’s 35-24 win over Illinois, they rushed for 274 yards and 5 touchdowns on 47 carries. That’s a real bright spot for a beleaguered offense.
Can Purdue stop the run? Wisconsin only score 3 points after the 1st quarter last weekend, as the ‘Makers lost to the Badgers 17-9. But the score is deceptive, because UW rushed for almost 300 yards. Even Ohio, a MAC team, ran for almost 5 yards per carry against Saturday’s visitors to New Jersey.
If it’s a bad match-up for the Boilermaker defense, dual-rotation QBs David Blough and Elijah Sindelar may struggle to get in a rhythm (which is a problem with rotating-quarterbacks anyway) if faced with a deficit and bad field position.
Best Pick for Big Ten Football – Purdue at Rutgers
This is looking like a toss-up contest, as the only thing the home team does well is something that the visitors have problems stopping, and there’s no major firepower on offense for Purdue to fall back on.
It’s 50/50 that Purdue will win by more than a cat’s whisker. That means Rutgers (+9.5) is the play.