NCAA Football Picks: Rutgers Scarlet Knights at South Florida Bulls

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at South Florida Bulls
Wednesday, 11/3/10, 7:00 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  South Florida -10
Current Betting Line:  South Florida -10.5
Opening Total:  41.5
Current Total:  42
Current Moneyline:  South Florida -430 / Rutgers +360

South Florida enters Wednesday night's contest as a double-digit favorite against Rutgers

Rutgers continues Big East Conference play with a trip to Tampa, Florida and Raymond James Stadium on Wednesday night.  The Scarlet Knights have had a much needed 10-day break between a 41-21 road loss to the Pitt Panthers and the news that one of its players was paralyzed from an on-field tackle.  The school has helped set up the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to support him and his family during the recovery process.    The team has won four straight games versus the Bulls and lead the all-time series 4-1.  Last season, the Scarlet Knights shutout USF 31-0 in an ESPN Thursday night primetime contest.  The rushing attack has averaged 169.6 yards per game in the series’ history.  Rutgers has also won four consecutive games in the state of Florida and fifteen players on the current roster hail from the Sunshine State.  The team is 7-3 ATS as an underdog the past three years and the college football lines page has them getting double-digits.

The Rutgers offense offense has struggled all season long and the line hasn’t been able to protect the quarterback, surrendering an NCAA-worst 4.7 sacks per game.  Quarterback Chas Dodd is the fourth-ranked true freshman quarterback in the nation in passing efficiency and is 58-of-110 passing for 817 yards and five touchdowns in six games.  Dodd’s first two starts were better than any quarterback during the Greg Schiano era at Rutgers, going 36-for-59 for 573 yards and four touchdowns against Connecticut and Army.  Defensively, the unit remains tough on third downs, ranking eighth nationally by limiting the opposition to a 30.1 percent conversion rate.

South Florida is 4-3 overall and 1-2 in Big East Conference play, while looking to secure the 100th victory in program history.  The Bulls have a chance to push its conference record to 2-2 and stand along in third place.  It also gives them an opportunity of finishing over .500 in the league for the first time in three years.  “They understand what they’ve got to get done and the way this football team has kind of owned us, especially the last two years,” said head coach Skip Holtz.  In his first year at the helm, Holtz is hoping to draw off his 51-32 conference record in his 11 years as a head coach and two championships in Conference USA.  The tam is 2-4 ATS this season and 12-17 ATS over the last three years.

The Bulls defense has been keeping the team in games all season, allowing just 18.6 points per game, which is tied for 24th-best in college football.  South Florida has held four of its seven opponents to 14 points or less.  A key for tonight’s game is pressuring the opponents’ awful offensive line, with the unit’s 3.0 sacks per game tied for ninth nationally and tied for first in the Big East.  Quarterback B.J. Daniels tallied his fifth career game with a rushing and passing touchdown in the team’s 38-30 road win over Cincinnati.  A key tonight is getting a rushing game going that managed just 92 yards against the Bearcats.

Bettors will be interested in finding the Scarlet Knights with a 4-1 ATS mark following a bye week, while the Bulls are 5-2 ATS as a home favorite of 10.5 points or more.

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