One-Loss Minnesota Travels To Northwestern For Big Ten Battle

The Golden Gophers are double-digit road favorites

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#11 Minnesota (9-1) at Northwestern (2-8)

MINN -13.5, O/U 39.5

Saturday, November 23rd, 12:00pm EST

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  • #11 Minnesota (9-1) is coming off their first loss of the season (at Iowa) and will square off against a struggling Northwestern (2-8) program as double-digit point road favorites.

  • The game is projected to be low-scoring, as evidenced by the 39.5 point total. 

  • Minnesota has gone 6-3 ATS while Northwestern has gone 3-7 ATS this season.

  • The over has gone 6-4 in Minnesota’s games and 3-7 in Northwestern’s contests.

Minnesota 

Minnesota’s surprising undefeated run came to an end last week when the Golden Gophers fell to Iowa (23-19), and thus their College Football Playoff hopes came to a crashing halt. Since they had beaten Penn State the week before, that result was especially disappointing for Minnesota fans (and bettors). Nonetheless, our model assigned their offense a “B+” grade in this matchup against Northwestern due in part to the impressive numbers of four skill players: quarterback Tanner Morgan (68.1 completion percentage, 2,468 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, four interceptions, one rushing touchdown), running back Rodney Smith (5.3 yards per carry, 986 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns), receiver Rashod Bateman (44 receptions, 945 yards, seven touchdowns) and receiver Tyler Johnson (59, 900 yards, nine touchdowns). 

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck revealed that Morgan is currently in concussion protocol and his status for Saturday’s game is uncertain. That’s certainly something to watch as the week progresses. Luckily for them, the Golden Gophers have been elite defensively and have allowed 15.0 points per game over their last six contests. 

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Northwestern 

Northwestern’s two wins this season have come against UNLV and UMass. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of their program. Further, their ground-and-pound style of play has led to some low totals (the under has gone 4-1 in their last five games). Last week, quarterback Aiden Smith went 7-for-13 for 76 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions against UMass’ terrible defense. Meanwhile running back Evan Hull came out of nowhere and rushed 24 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns. It was the freshman’s third game of the year and heading into last week, he had eight carries. 

It’s obvious that Hull should receive an opportunity once again, this time against a much-stiffer opponent. Regardless of the game script, Northwestern has passed the ball 290 times and rushed it 416 times so far this season, yet Hull became their second-leading rusher after one week of a starter’s workload (which is insane). Fellow freshman running back Drake Anderson leads the team with 513 rushing yards, but saw just five last week as Hull stole the show.

Prediction

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