Northwestern Scandal Looms Larger than Football in Big Ten Season Opener at Rutgers
The 2023 college football season kicks off in three weeks as football fans and bettors rejoice for the return of another NCAA season. So much is changing on the college football landscape including more major programs changing conferences with USC and UCLA playing their final season in the Pac-12 before moving to the Big Ten. Scandal is also hovering over the Big Ten with Northwestern making more headlines each week following the hazing allegations and firing of head coach Pat Fitzgerald. We're attacking a wounded Wildcat in Week 1a as Northwestern visits Rutgers in a Big Ten battle and potential blowout, by our estimations.
The hazing scandal surrounding Northwestern is drawing far more headlines and impacting much more than the football program in Evanston and the college athletics landscape. The high-academic institution at Northwestern University is failing crisis management. Former head coach Pat Fitzgerald's attorney weighs in on his client's wrongful termination, and the sh*t is hitting the fan as Northwestern deals with the hazing and abuse allegations, lawsuits and a massive financial hit as it defends and tries to protect its institution and brand.
Northwestern at Rutgers
The line opened months ago Rutgers -4.5 to -5, and is now up to -7 at most leading online sportsbooks. I bet Rutgers -6 and -6.5, and believe the line will go up as more players consider leaving the program through the transfer portal. The NCAA allows players to enter the transfer portal for 30 days after a head-coaching change at their school. Northwestern's highest-rated prospect (LB) in its 2023 class has already entered the portal.
With just one (1) win last year during a 1-11 season, and 4-20 the last two years, the Northwestern Wildcats are not going to go on the road and win at Rutgers in Week 1. Will they cover 7-points? I wouldn't bet on it. Defensive coordinator and interim head coach David Braun, who just came to Northwestern from FCS North Dakota State, is now taking over the mess along with new special assistant hire Skip Holtz. Another long, losing season with the Wildcats looking more like an average FCS team than FBS Big Ten competitor.
Northwestern lost their final 11 games last season with eight of those by 7 or more points.
Rutgers has started each of the past two seasons 3-0 SU while going 5-1 ATS. Last year they lost their final five games while overmatched. This year Rutgers has a top-20 experience rank and top-30 returning production rank and some key starters returning from injury and lost seasons. The Scarlet Knights will be better on defense and have a returning quarterback with a running game that will be better under a new offensive coordinator. The low total of 40.5 also has more bettors leery of laying a touchdown (and extra point) and taking a more more 'wait and see' approach. But we're attacking the wounded Wildcats and program in disarray with Rutgers 4th-year head coach Greg Schiano moving the program forward with the right opponent to kick off the season with a solid win.
Recall following the 2019 season, Rutgers had lost 21 straight Big Ten games losing by an average score of 39-6 while being out-gained by 240 yards per game. The Scarlet Knights were the laughingstock of the conference and college football. Now it's Northwestern that takes on that role with a Cincinnati transfer QB from Cincinnati taking over an offense that was No. 2 in the country in 'broken plays' last season with ineptitude on offense for a team that averaged less than 14 points per game. A Rutgers blowout and beatdown of Northwestern appears imminent.
Can only anticipate the line going higher with more Northwestern players considering opting out and entering the transfer portal with much more positive news surrounding Rutgers as kickoff nears. Rutgers plays the toughest schedule in the Big Ten, and thus has a regular season win total of just 4 wins. Northwestern will have a tougher time reaching their season win total of just 3.
Northwestern at Rutgers is a 12pm. ET kickoff Saturday, Sept. 3 from SHI Stadium in New Brunswick, NJ. It's the featured game for the new media rights deal between CBS and the Big Ten.
Welcome back #Rutgers fans. To coincide with the opening of training camp, here's a full page preview in today's @starledger, breaking down the most important players, x-factors and position battles. pic.twitter.com/gE5I9Dq9mv— Pat Lanni (@PatLanniNJ) August 3, 2023
College Football Games and Lines
Betting lines from BetOnline refresh periodically and are subject to change, including on props and live betting.
Opening week (Week 0) has 7 games followed by a full Week 1a with 45 games. High betting lines with many massive lines and one-sided matchups according to the odds. Just nine competitively priced games of 7-points or less including Rutgers (-7).
Sat., Aug. 26
Navy vs Notre Dame (-26), Total 50 - in Ireland
San Jose State at USC (-30), 63.5
Hawaii at Vanderbilt (-18.5), 53.5
UTEP at Jacksonville State (Pk), 51.5
Massachusetts at New Mexico State (-7.5), 42.5
Ohio at San Diego State (-3.5), 49.5
Florida International at Louisiana Tech (-10), 59
Thursday, Aug. 31
Kent State at Central Florida (-34.5), 58.5
NC State (-16.5) at Connecticut, 47.5
Nebraska at Minnesota (-6.5), 46
Florida at Utah (-7.5), 47.5
Friday, Sept. 1
Miami, Ohio at Miami, FL (-17), 48.5
Central Michigan at Michigan State (-14), 50
Louisville (-7.5) at Georgia Tech, 50.5
Stanford (-9) at Hawaii, 58.5
Sat., Sept. 2
Texas State at Baylor (-26), 57
East Carolina at Michigan (-34), 52
Bowling Green at Liberty (-12), 51.5
Arkansas State at Oklahoma (-32.5), 61.5
Ohio State (-27.5) at Indiana, 59.5
Fresno State at Purdue (-5.5), 51.5
Northwestern at Rutgers (-7), 40.5
Northern Illinois at Boston College (-9.5), 52
Old Dominion at Virginia Tech (-13), 49
Ball State at Kentucky (-25.5), 48
North Carolina (-3) at South Carolina, 63
Buffalo at Wisconsin (-24.5), 55
Utah State at Iowa (-23), 43
Toledo at Illinois (-10), 49
Colorado at TCU (-20.5), 59.5
Louisiana Tech at SMU (-17), 65.5
Akron at Temple (-10), 55
Sam Houston State at BYU (-23.5), 51
Texas Tech (-14) at Wyoming, 53
Washington State (-14) at Colorado State, 57
Nevada at USC (-37), 63.5
Boise State at Washington (-14.5), 58
Coastal Carolina at UCLA (-16), 64.5
Middle Tennessee State at Alabama (-38.5), 55
Massachusetts at Auburn (-38), 53
New Mexico at Texas A&M (-37), 48
South Florida at Western Kentucky (-13.5), 70.5
Rice at Texas (-35), 58.5
UTSA at Houston (-1), 61
Virginia at Tennessee (-28), 57.5
South Alabama at Tulane (-7), 55
California (-8.5) at North Texas, 57.5
Army (-7.5) at UL Monroe, 48.5
West Virginia at Penn State (-21), 54
Sunday, Sept. 3
LSU (-2.5) vs Florida State, 55 in Orlando
Oregon State (-17) at San Jose State, 53.5
Monday, Sept. 4
Clemson (-13) at Duke, 57.5
Be sure to check back and follow along as we post college football top-25 matchups and picks throughout the season with information you can bet on. Last season top-25 only side selections went 11-7 ATS. I add opinions, leans and bonus picks throughout the NCAA football season with top-25 college football coverage at OSGA now celebrating 25 years of service to sports bettors and online gamblers.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more sports and betting insights.