New Mexico State vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks: Betting Guide to This Thursday College Football Game

New Mexico State vs. Minnesota Odds, Picks: Betting Guide to This Thursday College Football Game article feature image

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: P.J. Fleck (Minnesota)

  • P.J. Fleck and Jerry Kill go head-to-head as Minnesota hosts New Mexico State in college football's Week 1.
  • Expect the pace of this game -- especially when New Mexico State has the ball -- to be slow.
  • Cooper Van Tatenhove breaks down the matchup and offers up a best bet.

New Mexico State vs. Minnesota Odds

Thursday, Sept. 1
9 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
New Mexico State Odds
-110o / -110u
Minnesota Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

In last week’s writeup, we got a winner to the window with the under in North Texas vs. UTEP.

This week, we turn to a Thursday night matchup in Minneapolis between New Mexico State and Minnesota for some Week 1 value.

If you have not checked out Stuckey’s write-up on early-season college football situations, make sure you give it a read, as New Mexico State travels to Minneapolis with a game already under its belt.

New Mexico State Aggies

The New Mexico State Aggies are coming off of an abysmal performance on the offensive side of the ball against an inexperienced Nevada team. The Aggies negated a 303-to-257 yards gained advantage by turning the ball over a total of five times (four interceptions, one fumble).

After completing just 9-of-20 passes for 75 yards and three interceptions, quarterback Diego Pavia was pulled for true freshman Gavin Frakes, who was able to add 143 yards through the air with a touchdown and an interception.

Frakes showed some great flashes, including a five-play, 85-yard drive capped off by a 10-yard touchdown pass.

There was a lot to like on film from the true freshman, but Minnesota will be a much different test than a Nevada team that had walk-ons in its two-deep.

First-year head coach Jerry Kill is attempting to slow down this Aggies offense to keep them in more games than last year. Kill affirmed this strategy in Week 0 by attempting only 23 passes compared to their 45 rushing attempts.

Look for this slow and methodical offensive pace to continue after their turnover trouble through the air in Week 0.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota is coming off of a 9-4 season in 2021. The Gophers return 80% of their production on the offensive side of the ball, including third-year quarterback Tanner Morgan and running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who missed all but one game due to injury last year.

This returning production — along with the return of OC Kirk Ciarrocca — gives the Gophers a lot to be excited about on offense.

In 2019, under Ciarrocca, the Gophers were able to put together a historic 11-2 season. Minnesota boasted a 48% Offensive Success Rate to go with a 1.87 Explosiveness Rating through the air. During this season, the Gophers averaged 4.2 points per scoring opportunity.

Look for Minnesota to return to being offensively lethal, given its focus on the success it had in 2019.

Minnesota has a lot to be excited about on the defensive side of the ball as well, as it returns seven of its top 12 tacklers.

The storyline for defensive coordinator Joe Rossi will be the rebuild of the defensive line through transfer portal additions.

The Gophers add a total of 82 tackles on the defensive line through the additions of Kyler Baugh from Houston Baptist, Lorenza Surgers from Vanderbilt and Darnell Jefferies from Clemson.

Rossi’s experience will bode well for a unit with this much turnover.

In addition, this unit has a favorable matchup when you look across the field at New Mexico State. The Aggies were only able to muster 85 total yards on the ground on 25 total attempts in Week 0 against Nevada.

New Mexico State vs. Minnesota Betting Pick

You simply can’t talk about this matchup from a New Mexico State and Kill perspective without talking about his history with the Minnesota program, particularly current head coach P.J. Fleck.

Kill was the head coach at Minnesota from 2011-2015. Upon his departure, Kill voiced his disdain for the way Fleck treated his former coaching staff, amongst other things in a 2019 interview.

These comments have likely not gone unnoticed by Fleck and the Gophers.

Given the pace of play that Kill will run, I am looking at the under. The few ground yards that the Aggies were able to muster in Week 0 will only be more difficult to come by against a more talented Big Ten opponent.

New Mexico State was able to produce a time of possession of 28:16 even with five turnovers in Week 0 against Nevada. This is an offensive pace that will eat up clock to keep games close.

Additionally, I look for Minnesota to take at least a half to get its offense where it wants it after having to re-install Ciarrocca’s scheme during fall camp.

Although Ciarrocca wants to get the Gophers to play a faster tempo, this will be a transition from their style of play in their seasons since his departure. Last year, the Gophers ranked 101st in plays per game with 67.4.

Currently, the full game total has been steamed down from the opener of 57 to 52.5 at the time of writing.

Due to the history between these two coaches, I think there is a scenario in which Fleck attempts to run the score up late against a very outspoken opposing coach.

To avoid this backdoor, I see the most value in the first-half under down to 29.

Pick: 1H Under 30.5 (Play to 29)

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