Rutgers is playing for its NCAA Tournament life while the Nittany Lions are likely playing for seeding when No. 16 Penn State hosts the Scarlet Knights on Wednesday. The Scarlet Knights (14-13) have lost three of their last four, including a 79-71 setback against Wisconsin on Sunday, but they have some quality wins, and another one on the road would seriously bolster their resume. Penn State (20-7) has lost two in a row after falling 68-60 to Indiana on Sunday, but that came on the heels of an eight-game win streak that included two wins against ranked teams.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions are six-point favorites in the latest Rutgers vs. Penn State odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 137.5. Before considering your Penn State vs. Rutgers picks or college basketball predictions, be sure to see what the proven SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has crushed its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread the past three years, returning $2,770 to $100 players. It also entered Week 17 of the 2019-20 season on a 66-40 run on all top-rated college basketball picks. Anybody who followed it has seen some huge returns.
- Rutgers vs. Penn State spread: Penn State -6
- Rutgers vs. Penn State over-under: 137.5
- Rutgers vs. Penn State money line: Nittany Lions -281, Scarlet Knights +220
- PSU: G Jamari Wheeler has hit five of his 10 three-pointers the past five games.
- RU: G Ron Harper Jr. is averaging 16 points over the past five games.
Why Penn State can cover
Penn State is 10-5 against the spread at home this season, and the Nittany Lions are powered by their depth. Nine players average at least 14 minutes per game, but forward Lamar Stevens is the top option. The 6-foot-8 senior scores 18 points per game and averages 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Sophomore guard Myreon Jones should play after missing five games due to illness, and he is a critical part of the offense, averaging 14.1 points and three assists.
The Nittany Lions are 16-10-1 against the spread overall this season, and they score 76.1 points per game but also play strong defense. Senior forward Mike Watkins gets a team-high 7.8 rebounds and blocks 2.4 shots and also gets nearly a steal a game. PSU gets 7.9 takeaways, led by guard Jamari Wheeler at 1.6. Plus, the Nittany Lions are 17-2 in their last 19 games at home.
Why Rutgers can cover
Even so, the Nittany Lions aren't a lock to cover the Penn State vs. Rutgers spread. That's because Rutgers is 4-0-1 against the spread against ranked teams this season, and the Scarlet Knights have one of the nation's best defenses. They allow just 62.2 points per game, which ranks 18th in the nation, and opponents are shooting just 38.4 percent from the field. Sophomore center Myles Johnson protects the rim, blocking 1.6 shots and pulling down 7.9 rebounds, and junior guard Geo Baker hounds opponents and gets 1.2 steals per game. He also leads the team with 3.6 assists.
Ron Harper Jr. is the top scorer for the Scarlet Knights, who are 10-6-1 against the spread in Big Ten games. The sophomore scores 12.2 points and gets 5.7 rebounds, while Baker chips in 10.7 points and senior Akwasi Yeboah averages 10. Yeboah is the most efficient shooter from long range, hitting 36.5 percent, while Harper is successful 32.7 on percent of his tries. In addition, Rutgers is 4-1 against the spread in its last five meetings against Penn State.
How to make Penn State vs. Rutgers picks
We can tell you that the model is leaning under, with simulations calling for just one Penn State player to score in double figures and Harper to have an off night for Rutgers. The model also has generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in more than 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Penn State vs. Rutgers? And which side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Rutgers vs. Penn State spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up more than $2,700 on its college basketball picks the last three years, and find out.