Nebraska vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Gophers in Big Ten Battle (October 16)

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Gophers in Big Ten Battle (October 16) article feature image

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images. Pictured: P.J. Fleck.

  • The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Minnesota Golden Gophers enter Saturday looking to climb up the standings in the Big Ten West.
  • Doug Ziefel sees betting value on the Golden Gophers as short hime underdogs.
  • Check out Ziefel's full betting preview with odds and picks for Nebraska vs. Minnesota below.

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Odds

Nebraska Odds-4
Minnesota Odds+4
Moneyline-180 / +155
Time12 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are set to battle in this Big Ten conference game. Minnesota leads the all-time series 34-25-2.

The Cornhuskers have turned it around after their opening loss to Illinois. They have had hard-fought games with Oklahoma, Michigan State and Michigan. Most recently in their loss to Michigan, Nebraska overcame a deficit only to have a fatal mistake cost it the game.

This is not the first time this team has made a crucial mistake and this last one left coach Scott Frost with this to say:

"I can't imagine the things happening to us all happening to us. I thought tonight was the night. We'll get there. We've got a really good team. I'm so proud of them."

Frost's words may give us an edge into just how hard that Michigan loss was on the team. Now, the Huskers have to travel for another conference game and how his team will respond is unknown.

Minnesota is coming into this matchup off of a bye, which is crucial for its prep for this one. The Golden Gophers rose to the challenge against Purdue in their last game but suffered a crucial loss along the way. A new look to the backfield leaves a lot of questions to be answered in this game.

Will the Golden Gophers pull off another upset?

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 16
12 p.m. ET

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska Offense

This offense is centered around their dual-threat quarterback Adrian Martinez. He has had a solid season through the air and on the ground as he is also the team's leading rusher. He has a QBR of 84.2, which is good for eighth in the nation.

Martinez is coming off his best performance of the season, throwing for 391 yards and three touchdowns, but what put a damper on it was the costly fumble that set up the game-winning field goal for the Wolverines.

If the ball is not in Martinez's hands, it will most likely be with running back Rahmir Johnson. The freshman has been getting better with each game as he is coming off a great outing.

Johnson only had 67 yards on the ground but made up for it with his receiving work, catching six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Nebraska Defense

The focal point for the Nebraska defense in this matchup is stopping the run.

The Golden Gophers run the ball at over a 71% rate, which is the fourth-highest in the country. The Cornhuskers have not exactly excelled at stopping the run this season, allowing 134 yards per game and just allowed the Wolverines to rush for 204 yards at 6.4 yards per rush.

Facing this Minnesota rushing attack is a war of attrition for any defense and the Cornhuskers need to prove their fight for a whole game.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota Offense

The loss of running back Trey Potts looms large over this Minnesota offense, as he was second in the conference in rushing, averaging 110 yards per game. It's an especially tough loss given that Mohamed Ibrahim was also lost for the season after the first game.

So, the next-man-up mentality is needed to continue for this offense. This time, though, it's not going to be one man but multiple men.

The new running back committee will feature freshmen Mar'Keise Irving, Ky Thomas, Cam Wiley and Bryce Williams. Those four have only combined for 43 carries and 184 yards on the season.

If the running game falters more may be asked of senior quarterback Tanner Morgan, who has been more of a game manager this season in a run-heavy offense.

What is concerning is that a majority of his attempts have been incomplete. Morgan has only attempted 90 passes and holds a 52% completion percentage.

His main job is to move the chains and avoid turnovers, but given those numbers, more volume from Morgan could spell trouble for the Golden Gophers.

Minnesota Defense

Just like Nebraska's challenge, the Golden Gophers' defense will be pitted against a run-centric offense. Unlike the Cornhuskers, though, Minnesota has shut down opposing rushing attacks as it only allows 77 yards per game, which puts it at fifth amongst all FBS programs.

This unit ranks 36th in coverage rating, according to Pro Football Focus. The extra week to prepare should point to more success defending the pass as it needs to be addressed.

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Nebraska vs. Minnesota Matchup Analysis

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

Nebraska Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
Rush Success330
Line Yards2332
Pass Success1441
Pass Blocking**12441
Big Play8758
Finishing Drives6460
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Minnesota Offense vs. Nebraska Defense
Rush Success8594
Line Yards8148
Pass Success9365
Pass Blocking**5852
Big Play923
Finishing Drives5217
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling5350
Middle 85327
SP+ Special Teams12248
Plays per Minute52129
Rush Rate62.4% (26)71.7% (4)

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

This game will be won by whichever team can control the trenches on each side of the ball. Two rushing attacks pitted against one another is a sign of a grinder of a game.

What could break the game open is Martinez's passing ability since Minnesota is not built to throw from behind. The Gophers need to run the ball and control the clock because the longer the Cornhuskers defense is out there the more success Minnesota will have.

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Betting Pick

Going into Minnesota is always a tough task for the opposition, but with Nebraska deflated after giving its all against Michigan, it may not be up for the challenge.

The Gophers, meanwhile, are coming off a bye and have had time to adjust fully to the game plan without Potts, as well as prepare for the treats Martinez presents.

Minnesota is 4-0-1 against the spread vs. its last five Big Ten opponents and has the recipe to cover again as home dogs here.

Pick: Minnesota +4.5 (Play to 3.5)

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