College Football Picks: Rutgers vs. Fresno State

David Lawrence

Thursday, August 29, 2013 2:38 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 2:38 PM UTC

Things appear to be looking up for Fresno State these days. After a nine-win season in Tim DeRuyter’s debut, they have BCS-buster written all over them. However, for them to throw the college football odds for a loop, they’ll have to start by taking care of business against Rutgers.

Look at our favorite 'Total College Football Betting Options for the Opening Week'.

The Scarlet Knights can win because…

They should be able to win the battle on the line of scrimmage. Fresno State’s defense is decent but there is still a disparity in talent when you measure up which conferences these teams come from. Beyond that, Rutgers has four returning starters on their offensive line and if they can push around the Bulldogs, run the football and play keep away, this game will be much closer than people think.

Although Rutgers lost 1000-yard rusher Jawon Johnson, they should have a couple of capable runners behind him like Savon Huggins and Paul James. Quarterback Gary Nova is very capable and he’s got a solid weapon in all-conference caliber wideout Brandon Coleman.

Few people are giving Rutgers a change to win here but they should be competitive and there’s a good chance they cover the 11 point spread listed on the college football odds boards.

The Bulldogs can win because…

The Scarlet Knights are a team in transition. They lost a lot of talent – particularly off their defense – and that’s not going to be easy to replace. That could be a problem considering they are going up against a veteran quarterback in Derek Carr. 

Carr, the Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year, could very well end up being an NFL starter one day (like his brother, David) and he’s going to benefit from the return of his top two receivers from a year ago: Davante Adamas and Isaiah Burse. If this matchup were a year ago, the Bulldogs would probably have a hard time moving the ball against a unit that finished 10th in the country in total defense and fourth in scoring (14.2 points per game). However, Rutgers only sees four starters return with all of their key stars now gone. 

Rutgers doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up and now they don’t have the defense to slow down their opponent either. With eight starters back on defense and an NFL-caliber quarterback leading the offense, this is a very manageable opening game for Fresno State in a very important season for them.


Outlook & NCAA Football Betting Prediction: 

If you’re making college football picks on this game, it’s hard to go with Rutgers. This is just a matchup of two teams who are in different places. Rutgers is clearly rebuilding while Fresno State seems poised for a big year. 

This line has bounced around quite a bit, going as low as 9.5 at Pinnacle and going as high as 11 at other popular online sportsbooks. I would expect that this to be a popular teaser play tonight with bettors dropping the spread on Fresno State to under a touchdown. 

Unless the Scarlet Knights defense shows up in a big way for this game or Nova puts forth a superstar effort, the Bulldogs will win and cover the spread.

NCAA Football Picks: Fresno State -11
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