Is Temple a sneaky bet as double-digit underdog vs Rutgers?
Temple's offense looked drastically different under freshman E.J. Warner, but can the Owls carry that momentum against Big Ten foe Rutgers?
Through the first five and a half quarters of the Temple football season, the offense failed to score on a whopping 16 of their 17 drives with quarterback D’Wan Mathis at the helm.
Once Mathis was pulled midway through the second quarter in Temple’s win over Lafayette, freshman E.J. Warner, son of NFL legend Kurt Warner, immediately led the Owls to two straight touchdown drives, and missed just five passes in their 30-14 win.
That performance, and rather lack of production from Mathis, led Stan Drayton and the coaching staff to name Warner the starter ahead of their clash against Big Ten foe Rutgers, coming off a blowout 66-7 win over Wagner.
As the two prepare to clash for the second straight season, this time in Philadelphia, the Owls will have to prove last Saturday’s win was more than beating an inferior opponent. This week, Temple opened as a 17.5-point underdog against the Scarlet Knights at BetMGM.
Only one other time since 2017 were the Owls a larger home underdog, which came during last season’s 37-8 loss to the Houston Cougars (Temple entered as a 25-point underdog).
In that same time frame, Temple is just 2-7 as a double digit underdog at home according to OddsShark, with an average margin of defeat of 30.2 points over those seven losses. The two wins (2017 against Houston as 10.5-point underdog, 2021 against Memphis as 11-point underdog) were both three point victories.
Recent history also favors Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights have won the last five matchups against the Owls in the series, including a 61-14 drubbing in Piscataway last season.
All signs seem to point towards a Rutgers dominating win, but Temple’s history against Big Ten opponents tells a different story of how this game may end up against the spread.
Owls success ATS vs Big Ten
Despite changing coaches several times over the last decade, one thing has remained constant: Temple has kept Big Ten games competitive, no matter who is at the helm.
In their last five games against Big Ten opponents, which dates back to 2015, the Owls are 3-2 straight up, beating Maryland twice and Penn State once in 2015. In those five games, Temple covered the spread of four of the five games, including winning as a double-digit underdog against Maryland (-15.5) in 2018, according to OddsShark.
In two of those five games (2015 vs Penn State, 2019 vs Maryland) Temple entered as home underdogs and won straight up. Since 2009, the Owls are 7-3 against the spread when facing Big Ten opponents.
While Temple may not win its matchup against Rutgers, it may be worth putting a few dollars down on the Owls, who seem to thrive against Big Ten opponents as home underdogs, recent history shows us.
Rutgers vs Temple Betting Line (via BetMGM)
Rutgers (-1200 ML) at Temple (+700 ML)
Betting Line: Rutgers -17.5
O/U: 44.5 (-110/-110)
Series History: Rutgers leads the all time series over Temple, 21-15, and has won the last five overall, including a 61-14 throttling last season.
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