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Quinnipiac vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks | NCAA Frozen Four National Championship Betting Prediction

Quinnipiac vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks | NCAA Frozen Four National Championship Betting Prediction article feature image

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Yaniv Perets #1 of the Quinnipiac Bobcats.

  • The NCAA Frozen Four hockey national championship between Minnesota and Quinnipiac takes place Saturday.
  • The highly anticipated matchups features an elite offense against stout defense with Minnesota favored (-1.5 puckline).
  • Sean Treppedi explains why there is value on the underdog in tonight's Quinnipiac vs. Minnesota matchup.

Quinnipiac vs. Minnesota Odds

Saturday, April 8
8 p.m. ET
Quinnipiac Odds
Puck LineTotalMoneyline
-106o / -116u
Minnesota Odds
Puck LineTotalMoneyline
-106o / -116u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

State school vs. private school, offense vs. defense or historic legacy vs. rising dynasty: however you want to spin Saturday night’s NCAA hockey national championship between Minnesota and Quinnipiac, it’s sure to raise neck hairs.

The No. 1 Gophers (29-9-1) have outscored their first three opponents by a 19-5 margin to play for their first title since going back-to-back in 2002 and 2003. They draw the No. 2 Bobcats (33-4-3), who are seeking to conquer their third consecutive Big Ten program in this tournament and earn their first title in program history.

It’s a tale of the tape that features a full recipe of defensive depth, scoring acumen and elite goaltending. Let’s peel these layers back to determine how to take an angle on the tilt.

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Quinnipiac Bobcats

Rand Pecknold has taken water and turned it to wine since assuming the head coaching helm of a subpar Division III program 28 years ago. The Bobcats have evolved into a perennial Division I force to be reckoned with entering their third national championship in 11 seasons. They were here — both literally and figuratively — seven years ago when they lost in the national championship to North Dakota at Amalie Arena.

Since then, they’ve knocked on the door with another series of nationally ranked teams that made the tournament in 2019, 2021 and 2022, but lost in the first and second rounds. This Quinnipiac team returns to Tampa Bay with the top ranked defensive unit in the country — allowing 1.55 goals per game. The Bobcats find their success by perfecting a disciplined 1-1-3 system that clogs up the neutral zone while they hunt pucks with an unrelenting forecheck. While that’s established, the Bobcats run a quick transition game and spark all kinds of scoring opportunity.

Whatever does make it through the defensive cracks is swallowed by Hobey Baker and Mike Richter Award finalist Yaniv Perets, who’s conducted a goaltending clinic all season posting an NCAA-leading 1.46 GAA. Perets made a handful of high danger saves against Michigan right before Quinnipiac pulled ahead to score three unanswered in the third period Thursday. While also leading the nation with 30 shutouts and 33 wins, he’s a major reason why the Bobcats have not surrendered a lead at any point throughout the tournament.

Up front the Bobcats present another Hobey Baker finalist in sharp shooter Collin Graf, who’s tallied 58 points and is the reliable power play trigger with eight goals for the unit. Graf is accompanied by the offensive creativity of Sam Lipkin and Jacob Quillan, both of which were responsible for the first three goals against Michigan. Quinnipiac can score the pretty goals off of the rush, but they also strike with the sneaky, gritty goals. Two of those three scores were banked off the goaltender from behind the net.

Quinnipiac dominates in the faceoff circle as the Bobcats have won 57% of their draws this season, which ranks No. 2 overall. When the Bobcats are possessing the puck, they’re dictating tempo and it’s not easy to take it back from them. Just ask Michigan.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

With 14 NHL draft picks lacing up for Minnesota, the Gophers present a deep, grueling lineup of talent all steered by the 2023 coach of the year recipient, Bob Motzko. This is their second straight trip to the Frozen Four after losing in the semifinal to Minnesota State last year. Previous to that, Minnesota last saw the light of a title game in 2014, when it was defeated by Union — another ECAC team. It’s looking to etch a sixth title into a program history of over 100 years.

As of the 6-2 rout of their good old friends at Boston University in the semifinal, the Gophers are the highest scoring team in college hockey at 4.26 goals. This is primarily due to the one-two-three punch of Logan Cooley, Jimmy Snuggerud and Matthew Knies, which is a line that has combined for 152 points. Cooley is scoring 1.57 goals per game and hasn’t gone without a point in 17 games. Both Cooley and Knies also received Hobey Baker nominations this season to tally out four playing in this game.

The Gophers make teams pay for taking penalties and the demise of BU was a testament to that. Minnesota went 3-for-7 on the power play — including the game-winner — and also boosted those metrics to No. 3 in the country at 27% efficiency.

We can talk all about the offense, but don’t let that overshadow the fact that Minnesota poses a sound defensive core that’s allowed 2.23 goals. When their top line went dry in the semifinal, it was the backend that stepped up, which was spearheaded by Luke Middlestadt with back-to-back goals to accelerate the Gophers. He’s accompanied by five drafted defenseman — namely Ryan Johnson, Brock Faber and Jackson LaCombe, who will all be reporting to their new employers after the scoreboard reduces to zero Saturday.

There’s no shortage between the pipes, either. Justen Close sports a No. 4 overall 1.99 GAA and .928 save percentage as the anchor behind all the fireworks. This could come down to whichever goaltender flinches first.

Minnesota’s game plan must revolve around avoiding Quinnipiac’s trap and responding with a feisty forecheck to establish themselves in the offensive zone early. This in turn could draw them some penalties to feast upon.

Quinnipiac-Minnesota Pick

Pecknold coached four of Minnesota’s players on the U.S. National Junior team only several months ago, which follows the same theme from Michigan. Quinnipiac’s biggest challenge will be defending the NCAA’s best forward line, but who’s to say? They already trapped the other top-two offense in the nation with their impenetrable system and vicious style.

Pick your poison between college hockey’s most potent offense against its stingiest defense. Amongst other optics, offense draws the attention — and the line favoritism in this case. But Quinnipiac has made it evident that defense can prevail having allowed three goals in three games through the tournament.

Perets hasn’t allowed more than two goals in 14 consecutive games in contrast to Quinnipiac’s slept-upon 3.95 goal-scoring rate. Great defense can compensate for anything, but when the goaltending is on, hockey games are won. The Bobcats have shown if they can nab the early lead, it’s extremely difficult — if not impossible — to play catch up with them.

The nickname “Big Ten Killers” has been thrown around heading into this game. Pecknold’s team isn’t here for another runners-up — they’re here to substantiate that trend. Back the Cats as an underdog with value.

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