College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Minnesota vs Northwestern: How to Bet this Big Ten Duel

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Minnesota vs Northwestern: How to Bet this Big Ten Duel article feature image

David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Brown-Stephens (left) and Tanner Morgan (right).

  • Minnesota puts its three-game winning streak on the line on the road at Northwestern.
  • The Golden Gophers have suffered two season-ending injuries at running back, but they still heavy skew toward the ground game.
  • Doug Ziefel previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Minnesota vs. Northwestern Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
3:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Minnesota Odds
-110o / -110u
Northwestern Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers head east to face off against the Northwestern Wildcats. This is a tale of two teams heading in opposite directions.

P.J. Fleck's squad has surprised many with its play this season. After dropping their opener to Ohio State, the Golden Gophers have won five of their last six, including three straight.

This will be an intraconference matchup, which has not been an issue for Minnesota, as it's 3-1 against conference opponents.

The Wildcats have had their ups and downs through seven games as they have traded wins and losses, though three of their four defeats have come against conference opponents. The latest was a 33-7 thrashing at the hands of Michigan.

Will the Wildcats put an end to their conference woes?

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Gophers Grind on the Ground

It's no secret how Minnesota plans to attack its opposition.

The Gophers have maintained a near 72% rush rate despite multiple key injuries to their backfield. This offense has truly had a next-man-up mentality, as it has not mattered who is handed the ball. They've all found success.

Most recently is has a tandem of two freshmen, Ky Thomas and Mar'Keise Irving. Against Maryland, they combined for 144 yards at 6.8 yards per carry.

Tanner Morgan is not asked to throw the ball very often, but when he does, the Gophers have seen sizable gains.

Morgan has benefitted from the Gophers' potent rushing attack by burning defenses with play-action passes. He has averaged 8.2 yards per pass, which is good for 39th in the country.

Minnesota Defense Stifling Opponents

The Golden Gophers' offensive scheme of running the ball, controlling the clock, and grinding out opponents correlates well for their defense.

This unit has only been on the field 42% of the time, but it's performed well when on the field. It's held opponents to 312 total yards per game, which ranks 16th nationally.

Shutting down the run game is what the Gophers specialize in, as they're fifth in rushing yards allowed per game.

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Northwestern Wildcats

Wildcats Lagging on the Scoreboard

The Northwestern offense is a balanced one, but where it's seeing a tremendous imbalance is on the scoreboard. The Wildcats rank 111th in points per game.

It's not from a lack of production, though, as sophomore running back Evan Hull has had a solid season. Hull has rushed at 6.4 yards per clip and leads the team with five touchdowns. The fact that five scores leads the team shows the real struggles of this offense.

The Wildcats are 124th in red-zone scoring and 116th in Finishing Drives. The inability to convert positive drives into points has plagued this team all season. It may continue this week, as the Golden Gophers excel in the red zone, only allowing opponents to score 76% of the time, which is 29th amongst all FBS defenses.

Northwestern, A Running Back's Delight

This defensive unit's numbers are not all too pretty, as there are many triple digits in them.

Though, the Northwestern secondary is due credit as it ranks 33rd in coverage and limits opposing quarterbacks to just 6.7 yards per pass. The only issue is that the Gophers don't throw the ball very often.

The Wildcats are 112th in opposing yards per rush and 127th in rushing yards allowed per game. All of those numbers only spell trouble for this defense in this matchup.

Minnesota vs. Northwestern Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Minnesota and Northwestern match up statistically:

Minnesota Offense vs. Northwestern Defense
Rush Success60105
Line Yards64104
Pass Success8977
Pass Blocking**3590
Big Play6332
Finishing Drives62107
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Northwestern Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
Rush Success6530
Line Yards9328
Pass Success9751
Pass Blocking**8450
Big Play11628
Finishing Drives11666
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling66106
Middle 82455
SP+ Special Teams61126
Plays per Minute12934
Rush Rate71.9% (4)54.2% (71)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Minnesota vs. Northwestern Betting Pick

Minnesota holds a multitude of edges in this matchup, and it should be in total control. But is its offense good enough to be laying 7.5 points on the road? I'm not too sure. That thought leads me to a look at the total.

These two teams have gone under the total a combined eight times in 14 games and have gone under the total in 5-of-6 six games in this scenario — Minnesota on the road and Northwestern at home.

Take the under between these two run-reliant offenses, as time will tick away much faster than points will be scored.

Pick: Under 43.5 (Play to 41.5)

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