Two teams looking to erase the memories of the 2020 season will take to the field when the Temple Owls take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Thursday. Temple finished 1-6, with their only victory coming against South Florida. Rutgers finished 3-6, earning victories against Maryland, Purdue, and Michigan State.
Rutgers enters the contest at the biggest sportsbooks as a 13.5 point favorite (-110). There has not been a recent contest between these two teams.
Owls Look to Rebound
It is understandable if some teams had an off year in 2020. Temple has a lot to look forward to, as an 8-5 season in 2019 has this team thinking they could get back to being one of the better teams in the conference. The Owls simply must get past a tough first few weeks to the season, as they take on Rutgers, then Akron, before welcoming Boston College. Even if the team comes away winless during that stretch, there is still a good chance this team could reach a bowl game.
How well Temple performs is going to be dependent upon the play of their quarterbacks. They had an injury plagued group last year, who combined to throw 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. This year, the Owls will be led by D’Wan Mathis who came to the school from Georgia through the transfer portal. He should help this team stretch the field.
The defense continues to be a work in progress, as they had a very difficult 2020 season. They allowed 37 points per game and 433 yards per contest. Six starters will return, but there is going to be a complete overhaul in the system and likely in the personnel.
Rutgers May Be a Sleeping Giant
It is hard to consider Rutgers to be a team to watch in the Big10 when you have powerhouse teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, among others. However, the Scarlet Knights defeated Michigan State and Purdue, and gave Michigan everything they could handle. Even Ohio State and Penn State had to battle against this team, so they have a legitimate shot of being a sleeper in the conference.
The 2019 version of the Scarlet Knights offense produced just 159 points in 12 games, failing to reach 17 points nine times that season. However, the team scored more points last year than they had in any previous season since 2015, a remarkable mark for a team who only played nine games. They averaged 27 points per game and 339 yards per contest, so this could be a very dangerous Rutgers offense.
Rutgers has an excellent back seven, who should be a force against most quarterbacks in the conference. They cover well, and move to the ball with purpose. It would not be surprising to see this team finish with 25+ turnovers.
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight games.
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games as the favorite.
Temple Owls vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick
This is the perfect type of opponent for Rutgers early on. This contest is going to give them an opportunity to get some momentum going on both sides of the ball, as I look for the Owls to struggle passing the ball. They do not have an exceptional ground game either, so it could be a long day for Temple.
On the other side, I look for the Scarlet Knights to move the ball with great success. There will be some question marks surrounding transfer Noah Verdal as the quarterback, but he has Big10 experience playing at Nebraska, and should put up some big numbers against the Owls.
Pick: Take Rutgers Scarlet Knights at -13.5 (-110)
The total is set at 51.0 which shows that oddsmakers are concerned about how much success Temple will have scoring points. It is going to be a tough day for them, and they will need to score at least 16 to push this game over, but I do not see that happening. Rutgers is going to hamstring the Owls offense. They score 34, but Temple comes up with no more than 10.
Pick: under 51.0 at -105