Thursday, May 26, 2022

These are bets to make on Rutgers and Penn State football

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Action Network’s college football expert dives into a couple of 2022 season win totals in the Big Ten East Division.

Rutgers

There were different sentiments on the Scarlet Knights when oddsmakers discussed an opening win total. Rutgers surprised last season with five wins and an eventual slot in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl thanks to COVID-19.

Head coach Greg Schiano has locked down the state of New Jersey from a recruiting standpoint, looking to add depth to a roster that returns higher-than-average numbers inexperience.

Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano gestures during a game against Maryland.

The offense returns 71 percent, per TARP (transferring assets and returning production), but the unit failed to get within the top 100 from a Success-Rate standpoint last season. The defense returns 62 percent with similar struggles last season, ending 2021 with a Finishing-Drives mark outside the top 100.

Rutgers projects to be double-digit favorites against Wagner and Temple. In conference play, the Scarlet Knights are expected to be favorites in a home game against Indiana, but the season win total will be decided by numerous underdog and coin-flip spots on the schedule.

Taking an Over on this win total will require a victory over Boston College in the first week of the season. Rutgers is expected to be anywhere from a 3-to-5 point underdog against the Eagles.

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In lieu of a -150 to play the Over on the Scarlet Knights, the better investment is an underdog moneyline ticket in Week 1 versus Boston College.

Note: Rutgers action is not taken by New Jersey sportsbooks, but is available in New York and other states.

Action Network Total: 4.6

WynnBET Total: 3.5 (-150 / + 130)

Penn State

If there’s value in the Big Ten East from the perspective of an Over wager, the Nittany Lions fill the bill.

Projected at 8.6 wins by Action Network, Penn State will improve on its 2021 numbers.

Penn State head coach James Franklin looks on during the first half of a game against Auburn at Beaver Stadium on Sept.  18, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania.
Penn State head coach James Franklin looks on during a game against Auburn.

Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich stays in place and returns 66 percent of the offense, but the defensive side of the ball deserves attention.

As Brent Pry departs to take the head coaching job at Virginia Tech, the Nittany Lions were in search of a new defensive coordinator. James Franklin found a way to snag former Miami head coach Manny Diaz to return to his roots as one of the best defensive coordinators in the country.

Penn State has just 38 percent of its defense coming back for the 2022 season, per TARP, as Diaz is expected to increase on Havoc and Finishing-Drives numbers that ranked outside the top 50.


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There’s a minimum of six wins on the schedule for games that project Penn State as more than a touchdown favorite. Purdue, Auburn, Michigan and Michigan State represent coin-flip games with projected short spreads.

Franklin has done a remarkable job not just in building the Penn State program back, but getting two of the best coordinators in the business. The win total has value through 8, making Over 7.5 a play with more than four months until kickoff.

Action Network Total: 8.6

WynnBET Total: 7.5 (-120 / + 100)

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