Colorado vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back PJ Fleck’s Golden Gophers

Colorado vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back PJ Fleck’s Golden Gophers article feature image

Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: P.J. Fleck (Minnesota)

  • The Colorado Buffaloes head to Big Ten country to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Golden Gophers enter as huge favorites after the Buffaloes have stumbled early.
  • Check out updated odds, picks and predictions for this Pac-12/Big Ten showdown below.

Colorado vs. Minnesota Odds

Saturday, Sept. 17
3:30 p.m. ET
Colorado Odds
-106o / -114u
Minnesota Odds
-106o / -114u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Minnesota looks to remain golden as it hosts Colorado on Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Gophers have started out the season with two dominating victories over New Mexico State and Western Illinois. In those matchups, Minnesota has outscored its two opponents by a combined score of 100-10. 

The Buffaloes have been on the opposite end of a few spankings to open the season. The program lost its first two matchups to TCU and Air Force by a combined margin of 56 points. The Buffs have yet to show any signs of life on either side of the ball, and that trend is likely to continue in this matchup.

These two programs are trending in opposite directions early in the season. All signs indicate for that to continue in this matchup. 

Colorado Buffaloes

Just two weeks into the season, it’s already been a nightmare start for the Colorado football program. The Buffaloes have been outscored by an average score of 40-12 thus far.

The program still has many questions and holes to fill — most importantly at the quarterback position.

Brendon Lewis was the incumbent starter, and he opened the season against TCU. After completing just 13-of-18 passes for 78 yards in the 38-13 loss, head coach Karl Dorrell made the switch to J.T. Shrout.

Shrout came off the bench in that game to throw for 157 yards and a touchdown on 23 attempts. But against Air Force, he was abysmal. The junior quarterback completed 5-of-21 passes for 51 yards and an interception.

The offense totaled 162 yards in the game and converted just 1-of-11 third-down attempts.

The Buffaloes' problems don’t end at the quarterback position, though.

The defense was shredded by Air Force, which rushed for 435 yards, averaging 6.2 per carry on its 70 attempts. The Falcons dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for 38 minutes.

The discouraging part for Colorado is this score would have been much worse had it not been for three Air Force fumbles.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota has smashed through its first two opponents with relative ease. P.J. Fleck's high-powered offense has averaged 50 points and 582 yards of total offense through two weeks.

The passing attack hasn’t been needed much, but has been deadly. Quarterback Tanner Morgan has completed 73% of his passes while averaging 12.4 yards per attempt.

The offense has run the ball on 67% of its snaps and churned out 5.5 yards per attempt. The Golden Gophers are averaging over 300 yards on the ground this season and have found paydirt a dozen times.

Running back Mohamed Ibrahim is in for a big day against a Colorado defense that was unable to slow down Air Force’s option attack.

For as good as the offense has been, the defense has been arguably more impressive. The unit has allowed a total of 10 points through 120 minutes of football, the best in the nation.

Through two games, the Golden Gophers' defense is allowing 1.8 yards per carry and only 4.8 yards per pass attempt. They have been elite at getting off the field on third down, as opponents have converted on just 3-of-22 attempts.

Minnesota has been consistent on both sides of the ball in terms of Success Rate. Both groups rank inside the top 25 in both Rushing and Passing Success Rates.

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Colorado vs. Minnesota Matchup Analysis

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

Colorado Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
Rush Success11211
Line Yards2615
Pass Success9817
Pass Blocking**9343
Finishing Drives995
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Minnesota Offense vs. Colorado Defense
Rush Success16122
Line Yards12110
Pass Success2487
Pass Blocking**1588
Finishing Drives82119
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling10923
PFF Coverage12927
SP+ Special Teams2621
Seconds per Play26.8 (74)32.0 (131)
Rush Rate49.6% (79)69.4% (6)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Colorado vs. Minnesota Betting Pick

With conference realignment going on across the country, Colorado is in search of its next potential home. The issue is the program has been performing more like an FCS-caliber squad more so than a Power Five unit.

The Colorado offense ranks amongst the bottom of the Power Five programs in terms of Success Rate and Explosiveness. The defense is in even worse shape, sitting amongst the bottom of the country in those same categories.

Now the Buffs must match up against a Minnesota team that isn’t afraid to run up the score.

And that’s exactly what I anticipate happening in this matchup.

Minnesota is going to find success running the ball against Colorado's defense in the same manner that Air Force did. That’s going to open the passing attack for Morgan, who has been slicing up defenses down the field.

Colorado’s offense is in disarray, with two struggling options at quarterback. Minnesota’s defense has been elite on third downs, getting off the field on 87% of its attempts. Colorado has only converted on 26% of its third-down attempts and is 0-for-5 on fourth-down attempts.

This is a clear mismatch, and Minnesota is going to win this one in a rout. 

Pick: Minnesota -27.5 (Play to 30.5)

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