No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS) vs. Minnesota Golden
Gophers (1-7 SU, 3-5 ATS), Week 9 NCAA Football, 8:00 p.m. EST,
Saturday, October 30, 2010, TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn., TV:
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: OSU -25.5/Min +25.5
Over/Under Total: 54
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The 10th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will try and continue their climb
back into the BCS picture when they travel to TCF Bank Stadium in
Minneapolis Saturday to take on the cellar-dwelling Minnesota Golden
Gophers in a Big Ten Conference matchup on ABC.
The Buckeyes, who are actually ranked 11th in the BCS standings,
rebounded from their upset at Wisconsin by handing the Purdue
Boilermakers a through 49-0 whuppin last weekend at the Horseshoe in
Columbus. Terrelle Pryor threw for 270 yards and three scores to lead
the Buckeyes in the bounce back game on offense over the Boilers,
while the defense held Purdue to just 118 total yards and forced
three turnovers as the Buckeyes tried to save face maybe one week too
This week Ohio State will try and win voters back by taking the Big
Ten doormat Minnesota Gophers out to the woodshed, something that has
happened all too often in Minneapolis these days. In their first game
since head coach Tim Brewster was shown the door the Gophers battled
hard against Penn State at home last weekend and at times even out-
played the Nittany Lions, except on the scoreboard in a 33-21 loss.
The Golden Gophers best hope is that the Buckeyes once again have a
hard time getting things to click on the road away from Ohio Stadium,
although a little bit of divine intervention might be required for
Minnesota to pull of the upset as well.
The chances of a Minnesota upset are substantial, especially since
oddsmakers opened this game with the Buckeyes as 25.5-point favorites
on the road this week. Even spotting the Gophers three-plus
touchdowns isnt inspiring the betting public to bite, since the
point spread has gone up to 26 at a few of the online sportsbooks.
The over/under total is listed at 54 at the few offshore sportsbooks that have released a number on their board.
Offensively the Buckeyes and Pryor shouldnt have much trouble
finding a way to take advantage of the Minnesota defense. The Gophers
defensive unit gives up over 400 yards per game, and nearly 200 of
that is on the ground (194.1 ypg rushing 101st in NCAA) so the
Gophers can expects a heavy dose of Daniel Herron, Jamal Berry,
Brandon Saine and Co. on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota offense will have to find a way to penetrate
the Buckeyes defense that only allowed Purdue nine first downs last
week. The Gophers did run the ball for 134 yards and a 3.8 yards per
carry average last week against Penn State, but those numbers will be
hard to duplicate and the bulk of the load will once again fall on
quarterback Adam Webers shoulders.
Weber has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and has a solid 17-to-7
touchdown-to-interception ratio in his senior season. He also has
some good skill players in DaJon McKnight and Marqueis Gray to throw
too, but when he has to throw it 50 times a game (49 attempts last
week) to try and keep the Gophers in the game (since theyre usually
playing catch up) its not a recipe for success.
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The Gophers are also trying to end the Buckeyes seven-game winning
streak in the head-to-head series, including last years 38-7 victory
at home in the Shoe. The Buckeyes are also 4-0 SU in their last four
visits to Minnesota, including a 30-7 victory the last time they
played there in 2007.
But while the series on the field is as lopsided as it can get in favor of Ohio State, the Gophers have actually covered the spread in
two of the last three meetings. Both of those covers came as large
underdogs (20-points in 2008, 24-points in 2007), so they find
themselves in a similar spot here this week.
The problem for the Gophers is that most of those covers happened on
the road, as the Buckeyes are a rather surprising 5-1 ATS in their
last six visits to Minneapolis. Ohio State is also 17-5 ATS as a road
favorite their last 22 tries, so even the hostile territory of TCF
Bank Stadium shouldnt rattle the Buckeyes too much this week.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If this was any team other than Minnesota Id snap up the huge underdog odds for the home team, but the Gophers program is
about as low as it gets these days. Im going to take the safe route
and wager on the under of 54 hoping the Buckeyes defense dominates
the Gophers like they did the Boilermakers last week. Im taking the
under of 54.