Michigan Minnesota Odds
The No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (4-0) welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-1) to the Big House on Saturday, October 5. This has been a very one-sided series in recent years with the Wolverines taking five straight meetings, including a 35-13 road victory last season.
This Big Ten contest will be nationally televised on either ABC or ESPN 2 at 3:30 EST Saturday afternoon depending on your region. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have installed Michigan as a 19.5-point favorite over Minnesota and a total set of 50 points.
Why Michigan Covers
The Wolverines certainly haven’t looked sharp in their last two games, but the fact of the matter is that they’ve opened 4-0 and are one of the better teams in the country. With two weeks to get things figured out having last played on September 21, you can bet they’ll be putting their best foot forward Saturday as they open conference play against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Wolverines are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games following a bye week.
Getting to play a team like Minnesota whom the Wolverines have dominated in the past is just what the doctor ordered. Michigan is 29-2 against Minnesota since 1978, which includes five straight victories by an average of 28 points per game. They won 35-13 on the road last year, and 58-0 in the Big House in 2011. After getting bashed in the media due to poor performances against Akron and Connecticut, the Wolverines will be playing with a chip on their shoulder Saturday.
Getting to play a team like Minnesota, whom the Wolverines have dominated in the past, is just what the doctor ordered. Michigan is 29-2 against Minnesota since 1978, which includes five straight victories by an average of 28 points per game.
Minnesota is one of the most overrated teams in the country. It doesn’t have one good win dating back to last season. The Golden Gophers were a favorite in eight of their 10 wins against UNLV (twice), New Hampshire, Western Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico State, Western Illinois and San Jose State. Their other two victories came as a 1-point underdog against Syracuse and a 2-point dog to Purdue. Minnesota relies heavily on its running game as it only averaged 111 passing yards per game. Michigan ranks 5th in the country against the run, allowing just 79.0 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry.
Plays on favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (MICHIGAN) – after allowing 125 or less rushing yards in three straight games against opponent after being outrushed by 125 or more yards last game are 28-8 (77.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Golden Gophers are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record. Michigan is 4-1 against the number in its last five home games. The Wolverines are 5-0 against the spread in their last five meetings with Minnesota.
Why Minnesota Covers
Minnesota is improved this season. It is off to a 4-1 start with its only loss coming to Iowa, which is certainly one of the most underrated teams in the country. The offense is averaging 34.8 points per game, while the defense is giving up just 20.6 points per contest. Jerry Kill returned 16 starters and 55 lettermen in what is clearly his best team yet at Minnesota in his third year here.
Michigan is certainly one of the most overrated teams in the country. That is evident when you look at its last two games heading into this one. The Wolverines needed a goal line stand at the 1-yard line at the end of regulation to secure a 28-24 home victory over Akron on September 14 despite being a 35-point favorite. You would think that they would come out with their best effort the next week against Connecticut, but that didn’t happen, either. Michigan only gained 294 total yards against the Huskies and needed to overcome a 14-21 deficit in the fourth quarter just to win 24-21 despite being an 18.5-point favorite.
Devin Gardner continues to be careless with the football as he has taken a big step back this season. He is completing just 57.4 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions on the season. He has also lost a handful of fumbles in the early going. You have to give the edge to Minnesota in the turnover department considering it has only given the ball away five times in five games this season, averaging 1.0 turnovers per game. Gardner could single-handedly keep the Golden Gophers in this ball game Saturday.
The Wolverines are 8-19 against the spread in home games against good rushing teams that average 200 or more rushing yards per game since 1992. Michigan is 20-43 against the number in its last 63 games after a game where it committed three or more turnovers. The Golden Gophers are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games following a double-digit loss at home. The Wolverines are 11-28 against the spread in their last 39 conference games. Michigan is 9-21-1 against the number in its last 31 games vs. a team with a winning record. The road team is 6-2-1 against the spread in the last nine meetings in this series.
My Early Lean: Michigan -19.5