Rutgers guard Geo Baker (0) drives against Minnesota guard Amir Coffey during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in Minneapolis. Minnesota defeated Rutgers 88-70. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
- Rutgers (10-6, 6-6 Big Ten) battles Minnesota (11-6, 4-6 Big Ten) on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 9pm ET
- The Scarlet Knights have turned a five-game losing skid into a three-game heater, while the Golden Gophers have won two of seven — but against two great teams
- The odds for the game, as well as matchup analysis and a pick, can be found in the article below
Rutgers is playing its best basketball of the season right now, and they’ll hope to keep that rolling on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 9pm ET when they host Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers have two very impressive wins in the past five weeks, but those are sprinkled in among five losses. As such, they find themselves as road underdogs for Thursday’s matchup.
Rutgers vs Minnesota Odds
|Minnesota||+5 (-105)||N/A||Over 139 (-110)|
|Rutgers||-5 (-115)||N/A||Under 139 (-110)|
Odds as of Feb. 3rd, 2020.
How They’ve Fared Recently
As stated, Rutgers is played some great basketball lately. In their past three games, they’ve grabbed three wins (two on the road) and twice held opponents under 60 points.
What the Scarlet Knights do best is defend, as evidenced by their 11th-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency in NCAA Division I. They’re also top 20 in block rate and steal rate. In last week’s 67-37 rout of Michigan State, for example, Rutgers had seven blocks, a whopping 14 steals and held the Spartans to 28.6% shooting.
🔒 🔒 🔒
Defense was on point in two wins last week!
🛡⚔️ #GardenStatement pic.twitter.com/hpqbtpsoj1
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) February 2, 2021
After losing five in a row to begin January, Rutgers appears to have found a rhythm. To be fair though, they are just 3-5 against teams ranked inside KenPom’s top 40.
Minnesota just happens to be ranked 40th on the nose. They were as high as 21st entering a Jan. 6 game against #4 Michigan, but from then on the Golden Gophers have dropped four of five.
They did earn a split against the Wolverines in that span, while also losing to #8 Iowa, #24 Purdue and Maryland. Facing Rutgers will be just the second game in 12 days for Minnesota, and they’ve lost their past two by a combined 33 points. They’re in a funk, largely due to playing supremely strong competition of late, and now they’ll hope to get out of it against Rutgers.
𝕎𝔼𝕃ℂ𝕆𝕄𝔼 𝕋𝕆 𝕆𝕌ℝ ℍ𝕆𝕌𝕊𝔼 pic.twitter.com/EVbhCfWSc9
— Minnesota Men’s Basketball (@GopherMBB) January 22, 2021
Rutgers is 8-7-1 against the spread this season, including 5-4-1 at home. They’re on a three game ATS win streak, too, with two of those wins exceeding the ATS margin by more than nine points. Four of Rutgers’s past five games have hit the under.
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) February 3, 2021
Minnesota is 7-9-1 ATS this season, but they’re winless ATS on the road. They’ve also dropped four of their past five ATS, including consecutive losses in which the ATS margin was greater than 15 points. Seven of the Golden Gophers’ past eight games have hit the under.
In the two previous seasons, Rutgers and Minnesota have met three times, and the Scarlet Knights have come away with a pair of straight up and ATS victories (for what it’s worth, the favorite won in all three matchups).
These teams played just once last year, with Rutgers grabbing a 64-56 victory as 5.5-point favorites. All of Rutgers’s key contributors from that game are back, while the Golden Gophers have had to replace three starters.
We like Rutgers to keep rolling, particularly when you factor in the continuity of their team and Minnesota’s 0-5 ATS mark on the road. The under is quite enticing, too.
Pick: Rutgers -5 (-110); Under 139
Jordan Horrobin is a sports journalist whose MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA work has appeared in outlets such as The Athletic, MLB.com, the Detroit Free Press and more. He is currently based in Toronto, also working as a contributor for Forbes.com and a freelance editor for Sportsnet.