Purdue vs. Minnesota Betting Odds & Picks: Expect Defenses To Shine
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Tanner Morgan (Minnesota)
Purdue vs. Minnesota Odds
Minnesota is a program that many had pegged for a great run in the wide-open Big Ten West, and so far, it has met and exceeded expectations.
The Boilermakers were also a popular sleeper, but they have dropped a pair of close contests.
Star quarterback Aidan O’Connell missed last week’s game against FAU, which Purdue narrowly escaped. He is considered questionable for this weekend and his availability — and effectiveness — will be a key factor in how to play this matchup.
Minnesota has yet to be tested this season, and Purdue only plays close games.
Which game script will we see on Saturday?
Purdue has played three one-score games, with its only breather coming in a throttling of FCS Indiana State.
The Boilermakers lost a heartbreaker to Penn State, a heartbreaker in Syracuse and broke FAU’s hearts by narrowly escaping the upset bid last week.
The running game is not good. Purdue’s rush efficiency is 101st — as measured by Beta_Rank — and the Boilers are 87th in Rushing Success.
The passing attack is the meal ticket here, with gunslinger O’Connell distributing to a stable of receivers led by game-breaker Charlie Jones.
But even with O’Connell and Jones, this is still just a middle-of-the-Power-Five-pack bunch.
Without O’Connell last week, the Purdue passing attack sputtered with Austin Burton under center. He did throw for three touchdowns and the Boilermakers won, but the process was not encouraging (24th percentile in EPA/dropback and only a 35% Success Rate on pass plays).
That’s against an FAU defense that ranks 87th in defensive SP+ — a far cry from Minnesota’s No. 3 ranking.
Purdue’s defense is competent, and has done better defending the run than the pass. The Boilermakers' front ranks eighth overall in Success Rate Allowed on run plays, according to gameonpaper.
This will be a matchup of strengths.
The Gophers have been dominant in the early season. Even partisan backers or team total over bettors have to be pleasantly surprised with their performance in September.
P.J. Fleck’s outfit ran roughshod over a laughable non-conference schedule, dispatching New Mexico State, FCS Western Illinois and Colorado by a combined score of 149-17.
The Big Ten opener didn’t slow these Gophers down, as they buried Michigan State, 34-7, in East Lansing in a game that was never competitive.
The rankings are skeptical of the Gophers, as they recently checked in at No. 21 in AP Poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll.
But power ratings and other metrics are buying in, as Minnesota is No. 7 in SP+, No. 6 in Beta_Rank, No. 14 in FPI, No. 16 in TAN Ratings, No. 1 in EPA/Game and No. 1 in PFF Grading.
The Gophers have excelled on both sides of the ball.
Running back Mohamed Ibrahim has returned to stardom after a season-ending injury in Week 1 last year. The senior is second in FBS with 567 yards on the ground and eight scores.
Quarterback Tanner Morgan is thriving again in prodigal coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense, with a 7:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
The Gophers' offense protects the ball and stays on schedule — they rank fifth in Havoc Allowed. They are first in the country in Parker Fleming’s ECKEL ratio — a measure of quality possessions — and ninth in points, per ECKEL.
While they have not faced a murderer’s row of defenses, they have barely broken a sweat in compiling fantastic numbers, which is more than many teams could say.
The defense has likewise been dominant. The unit is No. 4 overall in preventing offenses from Finishing Drives. The Gophers' defense also ranks top-15 in both of PFF’s pass rush and pass coverage grading metrics.
Again, a soft slate has helped inflate these numbers a bit, but you play who you play, and Minnesota has dominated everyone — even Michigan State.
The key concerns here are the loss of leading receiver Chris Autman-Bell — although the offense hummed along without him last week — and how the Gophers might respond whenever they face their first close game of the season.
Purdue vs. Minnesota Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Purdue and Minnesota match up statistically:
Purdue Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Minnesota Offense vs. Purdue Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||113||38|
|Seconds per Play||24.8 (28)||32.1 (130)|
|Rush Rate||41.3% (124)||69.0% (5)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Purdue vs. Minnesota Betting Pick
O’Connell’s availability is still in doubt due to an undisclosed injury. With him at full strength, Purdue might be able to hang around, or even steal a backdoor cover.
Without O’Connell — or if he’s obviously limited — it’s hard to see how this Purdue outfit can put points up on this tough Minnesota defense.
Minnesota should win comfortably, even though this is the first competent defense it has faced, and the first that will be able to slow its rushing attack.
With that factor, Minnesota’s slow pace and O’Connell’s limitations, I will take the under.