Penn State vs Minnesota Odds, Picks, Predictions | Big Ten College Football Betting Preview

Penn State vs Minnesota Odds, Picks, Predictions | Big Ten College Football Betting Preview article feature image

David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim.

Penn State vs Minnesota Odds

Saturday, Oct. 22
7:30 p.m. ET
Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
Minnesota Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Minnesota and Penn State both look to bounce back from Week 7 losses when they meet for Saturday night football in Happy Valley.

Minnesota lost its second straight Big Ten West game to Illinois last weekend, putting its hopes of winning the Big Ten West in serious jeopardy. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Tanner Morgan got knocked out of the game with a concussion.

With all that said, this is still a really talented Gopher squad that could absolutely pull off an upset in Happy Valley.

Penn State suffered its first loss of the season last weekend, getting throttled by Michigan in the Big House. The loss drops Penn State to 16th in the polls, but the Nittany Lions will no doubt be looking ahead to next weekend when they host Ohio State in what will be their last hope for a Big Ten East title.

Penn State Nittany Lions

Nittany Lions Offense

The Penn State offense, in its current state with Sean Clifford under center, is mediocre — and that might be putting it kindly.

Clifford is a below-average quarterback, and he's been a below-average quarterback for his entire Penn State career. That's why you hear pleas for Drew Allar to take over as the starting signal-caller.

Image via PFF.

This season has been right on par with the rest of his career. Clifford owns a 68.0 PFF passing grade with a 71.8% adjusted completion percentage. He's also thrown for 7.4 yards per attempt with only six big-time throws and five turnover-worthy plays.

Even with this type of mediocrity, here's the latest from Penn State practice this week:

Hello from practice. QBs in order: Sean Clifford, Drew Allar, Christian Veilleux, Beau Pribula

— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) October 19, 2022

If Clifford has been below average, then Penn State surely has been able to run the ball effectively, right? Wrong.

The Nittany Lions have a five-star freshman running back in Nick Singleton, who's averaging an impressive 7.0 yards per carry. But then you look a little closer and see that 124 of his 482 yards came on a 70-yard run against Ohio and a 54-yard run against Auburn.

In the last three games, he's averaged 3.5 yards per carry against Central Michigan, 4.1 yards per carry against Northwestern and 3.2 yards per carry against Michigan.

Penn State ranks 116th in Rushing Success Rate, 88th in Offensive Line Yards, and 110th in Stuff Rate Allowed. This is a bad rushing attack that's way too reliant on explosive runs.

Nittany Lions Defense

Penn State's defense finally got exposed for what it truly is against Michigan.

Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards had an absolute field day against the Nittany Lions' front seven combining for 339 yards rushing on a whopping 7.7 yards per carry and four touchdowns.

It was a long time coming because Penn State had been getting by after facing some pretty poor rushing attacks.


— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 15, 2022

Penn State ranks 86th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 90th in rushing explosiveness allowed. But the most freighting stat of all is that it sits 113th in terms of a tackling grade, per PFF.

The secondary has allowed just 5.8 yards per attempt for the season, but, Aidan O'Connell and JJ McCarthy are the only two "good" quarterbacks it's faced this season.

Plus, if the Nittany Lions can't stop the run, the only thing their secondary will see is Ibrahim running right at them.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Golden Gophers Offense

Minnesota has been incredibly efficient on offense, ranking seventh in Success Rate. But a lot of this game is going to depend on Morgan's status after he left Saturday's game against Illinois with a concussion.

Tanner Morgan reportedly "feeling well" not yet ruled out against Penn State.

— (@GopherHole) October 17, 2022

Whether Morgan can play or not, Minnesota is going to have to run the ball well to be effective on offense. It's a good thing the Gophers boast one of the best running backs in the Big Ten in Mohamed Ibrahim.

Ibrahim is one of only four running backs in college football to rush for 100 yards or more in every game played this season. He's averaging 4.7 yards after contact per attempt and has 23 rushes of over 10 yards, per PFF.

Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim puts the Illinois defender in the spin cycle. Mo has some deceptive elusiveness. Makes defenders miss in tight spaces.

— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) October 19, 2022

Minnesota is running the ball on 62.2% of its offensive plays, so the quarterback becomes less important if Ibrahim continues to run the ball effectively.

Penn State is really struggling to stop the run at the moment, so Minnesota should be to rack up yards on the ground and control the time of possession.

Golden Gophers Defense

Minnesota has a really stout front seven that's top-25 in both Stuff Rate and Rushing Success Rate Allowed. It held Illinois to just 4.1 yards per carry on Saturday and is allowing under 4.0 yards per carry for the season.

However, that isn't even the strength of Minnesota's defense.

The Gophers' secondary is allowing just 5.7 yards per attempt and ranks 20th in Passing Success Rate Allowed with the fourth-best coverage grade in the country, per PFF.

They have two of the best safeties in the Big Ten in Tyler Nubin and Jordan Howden, who both sit inside the top 15 nationally in coverage.

Tyler Nubin jumps the route, INT! Nubin and Minnesota’s defense can to play today!

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 1, 2022

Most importantly, the Minnesota defense ranks 11th in Finishing Drives Allowed. That's a big key against a Penn State unit that can't move the ball efficiently but finishes drives well.

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Penn State vs Minnesota Matchup Analysis

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

Minnesota Offense vs. Penn State Defense
Rush Success486
Line Yards734
Pass Success1133
Pass Blocking**286
Finishing Drives1623
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Penn State Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
Rush Success11625
Line Yards8846
Pass Success6420
Pass Blocking**5995
Finishing Drives6111
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling25113
PFF Coverage430
SP+ Special Teams6668
Seconds per Play31.2 (129)26.1 (62)
Rush Rate64.1% (11)52.8% (70)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Penn State vs Minnesota Betting Pick

While Morgan's status is important, this is a fantastic matchup on paper for Minnesota.

The strength of its offense gets to go up against an incredibly below-average rush defense, and the strength of its defense gets to go up against a below-average quarterback.

I love the Golden Gophers to bounce back from the loss in Champaign at +4 and would play them down to a pick'em.

Pick: Minnesota +4.5 ⋅ Play to PK

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