College Football Odds & Picks for Minnesota vs. Northwestern: The Big Ten Bet to Make

College Football Odds & Picks for Minnesota vs. Northwestern: The Big Ten Bet to Make article feature image

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Bryant (Northwestern)

Minnesota vs. Northwestern Odds

Saturday, Sept. 23
7:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Minnesota Odds
-115o / -105u
Northwestern Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Let's head to the Midwest for some classic Big Ten football between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Northwestern Wildcats.

Both of these teams got absolutely clobbered last week, so it'll be interesting to see how they respond.

Of course, Minnesota has much higher hopes this season than Northwestern, so you'd expect the Gophers to be the more focused team in this spot.

But, I'm putting my Lee Corso cap on — not so fast my friends!

Let's break down these teams and uncover the best possible betting angle for Minnesota vs. Northwestern.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

I'm not the biggest fan of P.J. Fleck, but I have to respect what he's done for Minnesota's football program.

This team looked dead in the water last season, but it has flipped the script early this season.

On paper, this is a matchup the Gophers should dominate. Northwestern was gashed for over 460 total yards — including 268 on the ground — by Duke last week.

That should play right into the Gophers' hands, as they're 44th in Rushing Success Rate. They've also done a nice job of getting a push from their offensive line and are 22nd in Havoc Allowed.

Freshman RB Darius Taylor was the Gophers' lone bright spot last week, as he ran for 138 yards and a score.

Well, he's going to be expected to carry the load on offense once again.

If the run game isn't working, I think the Gophers are in some trouble. Sophomore QB Athan Kaliakmanis has been absolutely dreadful to start the season, as he's only completed 51% of his passes and has one touchdown pass through three games.

That being said, Northwestern is 112th in Defensive Passing Success Rate, so if Kaliakmanis can't figure it out this week, I'd assume a QB change is imminent.

Northwestern Wildcats

Look, I realize this isn't a talented football team, but I don't think we should blindly fade the Cats. The public perception of Northwestern is as low as it can get, so this number may continue to balloon before kickoff.

I don't have many positive things to say about Northwestern's defense, which is a shame because that's typically Northwestern's strength.

And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the Wildcats getting completely gashed on the ground once again.

What makes me optimistic about the Wildcats in this matchup is their ability to run the ball themselves.

This offense will need a big day from the rushing attack, which is entirely possible against a Gophers team that's 93rd in Defensive Rushing Success Rate. They don't do many other things well, but the Wildcats do score touchdowns when they find themselves in their opponent's territory.

I think the pace of play will benefit Northwestern in this matchup and if the run game is cooking, I expect the Wildcats to hang in there until the very end.

Minnesota vs. Northwestern

Matchup Analysis

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

Minnesota Offense vs. Northwestern Defense
Rush Success4483
Line Yards4282
Pass Success125112
Finishing Drives121118
Quality Drives2782
Northwestern Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
Rush Success2293
Line Yards89117
Pass Success8752
Finishing Drives3691
Quality Drives11766
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling6487
PFF Coverage38119
Special Teams SP+3397
Middle 89348
Seconds per Play29.0 (96)22.9 (10)
Rush Rate55.7% (53)47.4% (108)

Minnesota vs. Northwestern

Betting Pick & Prediction

Look, not every pick is going to be pretty. With that said, we're holding our noses and riding with Northwestern here.

The public optics can't get much worse for Northwestern, and I think 11.5 points is way too many in this spot.

Besides, the Gophers shouldn't be laying 11.5 points against any Power Five team.

There are many scenarios where Northwestern gets absolutely gashed in this matchup and loses by 40. However, I just don't trust this Gophers offense enough to make me believe they're going to win in a blowout here.

Additionally, the injury report is completely full for both these rosters, so we may not know how truly healthy they are until kickoff. This could very easily be a classic 13-3 Big Ten game.

The clock should be moving frequently, which only helps us with the 11.5 points we're being spotted.

I would wait as long as possible to bet this, but I feel comfortable backing Northwestern at +11.5.

Pick: Northwestern +11.5 (Bet to +10.5)
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