South Florida Bulls (6-0, 1-0 in Big East) -2, o/u 52 at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-2, 1-1), 7:30 pm Eastern Thursday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com
The Big East Conference’s Cinderella team of this season, the undefeated South Florida Bulls, visit New Jersey to take on last year’s glass slipper, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, for a Thursday night bout on ESPN.
Thanks to upsets of Auburn and West Virginia, and losses by nearly the entire college football top 10 in the first six weeks of this season, South Florida is ranked in most top 3’s in the country not bad for a program just 11 years in existence.
On the other side of this match-up, Rutgers was thought to have an outside chance at running their table and playing in a very large bowl game this year. But the Knights have lost twice already this season, both games at home, to Maryland and Cincinnati.
The Bulls continued their winning ways last week with a 64-12 romp over Central Florida, while Rutgers broke a two-game losing streak with a 38-14 win at Syracuse.
South Florida is 4-1 against the spread this season, 2-0 straight up and 1-1 ATS on the road.
The Knights are 3-2 vs. the numbers this season, 3-2 SU and 2-2 against the spread at home.
During their run to national recognition last year, Rutgers beat the Bulls 22-20 in a thriller in Tampa last September. The Knights, on the strength of 202 yards from RB Ray Rice, outrushed USF 226-92 and held a 37/23 time-of-possession advantage, but the Bulls outgained Rutgers overall 347-326. The Scarlet Knights led early 10-0, then trailed 14-10, then led 22-14 very late. South Florida scored with less than a minute to go to make it 22-20, but had the game-tying two-point conversion dropped in the end zone.
That game was, by the way, the last time the Bulls allowed a 100-yard rusher.
USF covered the spread that game as four-point home underdogs, and the game also just crawled over its total of 41.
This season the Bulls are outscoring opponents on average 35-16, outrushing foes 181-106 and outgaining them 394-284.
Rutgers is outscoring opponents this year 37-17, outgaining them 490-297 and outrushing them 182-139.
South Florida QB Matt Grothe has completed 59% of his passes this year for a 6.6 yards-per-attempt average and a 7/3 TD/INT ratio.
Knights QB Mike Teel has hit on 63% of his throws this season for a 10.8 YPA average and a 12/6 TD/INT ratio.
The Sagarin PREDCITOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Bulls #7 at 90.5, Rutgers #21 at 81.2.
The o/u is 3-2 in South Florida games this season, which are averaging 51 points per, while the totals are 2-2-1 in Knights games, which are averaging 54 points per.
The Bulls opened up as three-point road chalk for Thursday night’s game, with a total of 51. USF has since been bet down to 2 at most sportsbooks, while the total has been bumped up to 52. Also, South Florida is listed at right around -140 on the moneyline, with Rutgers getting +125 as home dogs.