Rutgers at Fresno State Picks and College Football Odds
by Dave Schwab - 6/20/2013
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will travel cross country to Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California to open its 2013 football season against the Fresno State Bulldogs on Thursday, Aug. 29. Kickoff is set for 10 p.m. (ET) for this Big East/ Mountain West clash, and the game will be available locally in each team’s home market.
The Scarlet Knights blew a golden opportunity to win the Big East title outright last season with straight up losses to Pittsburgh and Louisville down the stretch that dropped them to 5-2 in conference play. They went on to lose to Virginia Tech 13-10 in overtime in the Russell Athletic Bowl to finish 9-4 overall.
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Fresno State tied Boise State at 7-1 in the Mountain West last season but lost the tiebreaker for the conference title as a result of a 20-10 loss to the Broncos in mid-October. It finished the season at 9-4 overall after getting blown out 43-10 by SMU in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
Rutgers at Fresno State Betting Storylines
Rutgers football program has now posted back-to-back 9-4 campaigns, and while its conference continues to undergo major changes, it should once again be a major factor in the race for this year’s Big East title before leaving for the Big Ten starting in 2014. Quarterback Gary Nova is one of seven starters back on offense. Last season he threw for 2,695 yards and 22 touchdowns, but he completed only 57 percent of his passes and was picked off 16 times. He will have his favorite target back as well in Brandon Coleman, who led the team with 718 yards receiving and 10 touchdown catches.
The big question for the Scarlet Knights not only in this matchup but for the entire season is how well its defense will hold up. There are just four starters back from a unit that was ranked fourth in the nation in points allowed (14.2). It should remain strong up front with three of four linemen back, but the there are some major holes at linebacker and in the secondary.
The Bulldogs finished the 2012 season ranked 12th in the country in passing yards per game behind the arm of quarterback Derek Carr. He passed for 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns last season while completing 67.3 percent of his attempts. Also back is wide receiver Davante Adams, who hauled in 102 catches for 1,312 yards and 14 scores, making this one of the deadliest pass-catch combinations in Division IA football. One gaping hole in the offense is the loss of running back Robbie Rouse, who racked-up 1,490 yards on the ground last season. Look for Marteze Waller to start the season in his place to try and fill that void.
There are eight starters back on defense for Fresno State, including a front three that includes all-conference players Tyeler Davison and Andy Jennings. Also back is all-conference safety Derron Smith as part of a unit that was ranked third in the MWC against the run and ranked as one of the best in the country against the pass.
Rutgers at Fresno State College Football Week 1 Betting Tends and Futures Odds
The Scarlet Knights went 7-6 against the spread last season with a 4-3 ATS record on the road. The total stayed “under” in nine of 12 games with a posted, including five of their seven road games. Rutgers failed to cover in four of their last six games of the 2012 season.
The Bulldogs were a very profitable 11-2 ATS overall in 2012 and a perfect 6-0 ATS in six home games. The total stayed under in seven of 12 games overall and in five of their final eight games last season.
Rutgers at Fresno State Picks and College Football Week 1 Betting Predictions
Rutgers revamped defense will be tested quickly against a Bulldogs passing attack that will look to exploit all the new faces in the secondary. While giving up 8.5 points against a quality team like the Scarlet Knights in a season opener does carry some risk, I would still bank on Fresno State to make an early statement with a double-digit victory at home.
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