Ohio State vs Minnesota: Complete Betting Preview and Pick ATS

Kurt Boyer

I’ve explained before just why wide point spread bets are so fun, but here’s a quick primer for the uninitiated.

Suppose you wager on the underdogs to cover an eye-popping, 4-to-6 touchdown college football spread. Then all you are really rooting for is a good game. A decent game. If it’s a decent game – and a lot of games of TV seem to turn into decent ones – then you win the bet 19 times out of 20.

Meanwhile, if you’re taking the favorite against a truly out-manned opponent on a 35+ point spread, it can feel exciting in the same way that Great Football for SEGA Genesis worked. Your team keeps getting the ball back right away, and has to score as many points as they can, hopefully enough, before the clock runs out.

Will Ohio State play Great Football and reach the next “level” of a monumental season without a hitch (pass) this Saturday? Or will visiting Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck find a way to keep things close?

Who: Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio State Buckeyes

When: Saturday, October 13th, 12 PM EST

Where: The Horseshoe, Columbus, OH

Lines: Minn (+30) at OSU (-30) / O/U Total: (59)

Minnesota at Ohio State: Big Ten Point Spread Analysis

Ohio State and Minnesota are headed in opposite directions. After a promising 3-0 start to the season, P.J. Fleck’s Golden Gopher squad has dropped 2 games to Maryland and Iowa by a combined score of 90-44 to fall to 3-2 on the season.

Turnovers have caused issues during the Minnesota losing streak. True freshman quarterback Zach Annexstad didn’t throw a pick for the first 3 games; during the 2 losses, he’s thrown 5.

Decision-making and adjusting to the speed of conference play is always an issue for true freshmen, but following up 2 rough weeks with a trip to the Horseshoe is not an ideal situation.

The defense has been a bright spot for Fleck’s team. In their non-conference wins, Minnesota surrendered an average of only 9 points per game. Despite big scoreboard numbers against Maryland and Iowa, the defense has played well – they rank 22nd in the nation in yards allowed per game – the turnover bug simply helped opposing teams score. The defense begins and ends with their linebackers, specifically senior Blake Chashman and junior Carter Coughlin, both of whom have 6.5 tackles for loss (Coughlin has 5 sacks as well).

Ohio State: Handicapping at Almost ‘Bama-Level Strength

Ohio State was a flash-point of controversy once, a long time ago (maybe a month or 2), but lo and behold the distractions seem to have melted away as the squad is a standard Urban Meyer-led juggernaut.

As great as the Buckeye defense has been, it must be nice having a legitimate top-tier NFL prospect quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, who has taken the offense to new heights. DraftWire is impressed to the max:

It’s rare to see redshirt sophomore quarterbacks make the jump to the pros with two years of eligibility remaining, but Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins is looking like the exception to the rule. Already with some impressive performances under his belt in 2018, Haskins turned in perhaps his best showing of the year so far against Indiana on Saturday, completing 33 of his 44 passes for 455 yards and six touchdowns.

Not only does Haskins have the impressive running ability we’ve come to expect from recent Buckeyes quarterbacks, but his ability as a passer is what will have pro scouts anxious to gauge his interest in making himself available for the 2019 NFL draft.

Leave the kid alone, guys! He’s probably not even halfway into the current college season…if all goes well.

Ohio State ranks 5th in yards per game, 3rd in passing yards per game, and 5th in points per game. Oh by the way, Haskins leads the nation in touchdowns thrown (25).

Haskins’ go-to target has become senior receiver Parris Campbell, who has racked up over 500 receiving yards thus far and is scoring, on average, more than 1 touchdown per contest.

Even with the projected top pick in the 2019 draft and likely the squad’s best defender, Nick Bosa, sidelined indefinitely after undergoing core surgery, Ohio State boasts one of the deepest groups of linemen in the trenches.

Replacing Bosa isn’t entirely possible, but the Buckeyes have leaned on junior Dre’Mont Jones, a top-flight NFL prospect in his own right, and Chase Young to lead the way in a balanced pass rush. Both Jones and Young have 7+ sacks a piece, but in total, 19 Buckeyes not named Nick Bosa have recorded a sack on the season.

That’s a team pass rush of the sort that Minnesota’s OL may not be prepared to deal with for long on passing downs.

Prediction on the Point Spread

Fleck will use canny zone blocking schemes and hordes of linemen connected at the hip to try to engineer a running game early-on, with some success. But as the game wears on, OSU will be able to employ its blitzes.

I’m liking the Buckeyes to win by 5+ touchdowns and cover at home, but I’m really liking them as a live bet to cover at halftime should Minnesota manage to hang around just that long.

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