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Free Pick: Rutgers vs. Washington St. Betting Odds & Preview

Week 1: Scarlet Knights vs Cougars Spread

College football Week 1 betting action sees the Rutgers Scarlet Knights taking on the Washington State Cougars on Thursday August 28th at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Cappers Picks provides free NCAA football handicapping tips all season long.

After both the Scarlet Knights and Cougars lost their bowl games to end their 2013 season, both squads are looking to start 2014 off with an improvement. With starting Quarterbacks returning for both teams, things could get interesting.

College Football Lines

Rutgers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) @ Washington State (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Thursday, August 28th 10:00 PM ET @ CenturyLink Field – Seattle
NCAA Football Spread: Washington State -8
NCAA Football O/U: -110

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It’s the first year for Rutgers in the Big Ten and they will have many conference tests to deal with. Before that, though, they get the non-conference challenge of an explosive Washington State offense that Mike Leach lead to ridiculous amounts of points in 2013.

Rutgers

After making the leap from the American Athletic Conference to the Big Ten, there are no doubts that the Scarlet Knights have a long road ahead of them. Beginning it with the Cougar pass attack will undoubtedly be the first test of the season.

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Last season, the pass defense of Rutgers allowed 4,056 passing yards and 31 touchdowns and was the worst in the school’s history. Their run defense has been much better and has been a strength over the last few seasons but may not be a factor in this game.

The team is pinning its hopes on returning Senior QB Paul Nova and Junior RB Paul James to help spark the offense and get the season started with a much needed win in the competitive Big Ten.

With the team’s leading receiver – TE Paul Kroft returning as well, the team is hoping to improve on its 3,063 yards passing and 1,684 yards rushing from last year.
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While the game is considered a home game for the Cougars, it is being played in their Pac-12 nemesis’ home city of Seattle, which Rutgers could capitalize on.

Washington State

The Cougars are still licking their wounds after losing a heartbreaking shootout 48-45 in their 2013 bowl game against Colorado State.

The game, however, put the Cougars on the map as a team that could cause problems through the air for weak defensive teams.

It is a Mike Leach offense.

Finishing the year with the 4th ranked passing offense in the country was a big win for the Cougars, who look to repeat that performance with Senior QB Connor Halliday and number one receiver Gabe Marks returning this season.

In fact, there are three returning WR in an offense that boasted 4,784 yards through the air.

The Cougar defense, on the other hand, has to perform better this year. While the offense was putting up 368 yards per game, the defense was having a hard time holding up their end of the bargain.

Most games turned out to be shootouts with the Washington State defense not being able to make the big stops needed to make splashes in their bigger games.

NCAA football handicapping Trends

  • Over is 15-3 in Cougars last 18 home games.
  • Over is 19-6-1 in Cougars last 26 games on fieldturf.
  • Over is 6-2-1 in Cougars last 9 games overall.
  • Rutgers is 1-4 SU in last 5 games
  • Rutgers is 1-7 SU in last 8 games

Week 1 NCAA Football Prediction

The Washington State pass offense is extremely hard to stop. The Scarlet Knights had a poor pass defense last season AND lost two of their defensive ends. With no pressure on Halliday, the Cougars will roll in this one.

Final Week 1 Score: Rutgers 24 – Washington State 42

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