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It's the Big East vs. the SEC as Rutgers takes on Arkansas Saturday Night at 7 pm est. in a game that can be seen on ESPNU. Arkansas opened as only a -2 point favorite at 5 Dimes and has moved all the way to -7 in early betting action with a whopping 99% of the early action at sportsbetting.ag coming in on the Razorbacks.
The result of this game will answer a couple questions regarding each team. How bad is the Big East and Is Arkansas really this bad? Notice each of those questions don't relate to good things. Rutgers will be fighting to win what's left of the Big East all season which isn't saying a lot. They won their first three games against less than exciting opponents in Tulane, Howard and South Florida. As for the Razorbacks, they have lost two straight games, one to Louisiana-Monroe and a 52-point loss to Alabama...both at home.
Even after that Alabama blowout, Arkansas still comes into this game as decently sized favorites, with the line currently sitting at about a TD. However, this is the same Arkansas team that was fighting to be in the Championship game last year as their only losses were to Alabama and LSU. That seems like such a long time ago yet the only real loss from that team was WR Jarius Wright. Granted, Tyler Wilson missed a half in the ULM game and couldn't play in the Alabama game due to his head injury.
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The difference between Wilson and Brandon Allen has been made evident over the past two games. It's still unknown if Wilson will be able to return for the Rutgers game and is something you need to keep an eye on before the game. If Wilson can't go, Allen will have to once again go up against one of the top defenses in the country and the result may not be pretty. Allen is completing his passes at under 50% and has thrown three interceptions in less than two games. Running back Knile Davis couldn't get much going against the Crimson Tide. He now has 191 yards through three games and a disappointing 3.5 yards per carry. The team's leading WR, Chris Gragg managed just 33 yards last week, but he still has 226 yards and two TDs for the season.
Rutgers hasn't had a real test for their defense yet, which makes this matchup intriguing. Are the Scarlet Knights all they are hyped to be? The bookmakers are saying no. Still, they've allowed just 25 points through three games which is good for fifth in the nation.
Their offense isn't anything special either led by sophomore QB Gary Nova. He's completed just 55% of his passes for 565 yards, four TDs and two interceptions. The bulk of the Rutgers offense comes from their rushing attack and Jawan Jamison. This kid carried the ball 41 times for 151 yards against South Florida last Thursday in the win. Expect a heavy dose from him against the Razorbacks.
Due mostly in part to the Rutgers defense, the under has hit seven times in their last eight road games. If Allen goes at QB, you can expect another low-scoring battle between these two teams. It's unlikely the Scarlet Knights will put a ton of points on the board as they haven't scored more than 26 points in a game yet.
The bottom line here likely is the fact that you have an SEC a team going up against a Big East team and that should translate into an Arkansas win and likely a cover here, even at -7. There should be an evident talent gap on the field Saturday. After having been mauled by Alabama, Arkansas should find the going much easier this week, as things they tried to do last week against Bama and failed, suddenly start to work. The problem for bettors though, is that this game opened Arkansas -1. You had to be there when the lines came out if you wanted to play Arkansas. We would have even considered playing this the following day, Monday, when the game was -5.5. But at -7, we have to pass. Playing a number 6 points to the worst of it is sportsbetting suicide.
So for us, we'd have to either look at the Rutgers side, which we don't trust here, or the total, which we have no opinion on. So this is a pass for us, though we tend to think Arkansas will likely roll here.
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