Big Ten Betting Picks: Minnesota Golden Gophers at Purdue Boilermakers

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Purdue Boilermakers
Ross-Ade Stadium – West Lafayette, Indiana
Saturday, October 8, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Purdue -9 1/2
Current Line: Purdue -10 1/2
Opening Total: 48 1/2
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Purdue -370 / Minnesota +310
Current Money Line: Purdue -400 / Minnesota +330

Purdue hosts Minnesota Saturday in the Big Ten opener for the Boilermakers. Purdue is a 10.5 point favorite.

It has been a rough season for Minnesota under first year coach Jerry Kill. Minnesota is 1-4 but more importantly Kill missed two games this season after suffering a seizure near the end of the second game of the season, a home loss to New Mexico St 28-21. Kill returned to the sidelines last week for the Gophers just in time for Minnesota’s conference opener at Michigan. The Gophers were destroyed 58-0 in that contest. Minnesota also has losses at USC 19-17 and at home versus North Dakota St 37-24. The only win for the Gophers came against Miami-Ohio 29-23. Now Minnesota travels to 2-2 Purdue, coached by Danny Hope. Purdue has alternated wins and losses this season, with home wins over Middle Tennessee St 27-24, and Southeast Missouri St 59-0. The Boilermakers have losses at Rice 24-22, and last week at home 38-10 to Notre Dame. This is the Big Ten opener for Purdue. Minnesota leads the series 33-31-3, but Purdue has won 4 of the last 7 including last year in West Lafayette 28-17.

It was an ugly day in Ann Arbor last week for Minnesota. The Gophers lost the Little Brown Jug to Michigan 58-0. Nothing went right for the Gophers in the shutout. They had only 177 total yards, (including just 73 rushing yards) and 8 first downs. Minnesota gave up 580 total yards including 363 rushing yards. Minnesota had 9 penalties and 2 turnovers.  The Gophers were playing without quarterback Marqueis Gray who injured his foot against North Dakota St. He is doubtful against Purdue, but he is out of his walking boot.

As you might expect from a one win team, Minnesota has struggled on offense, averaging 317.8 yards and 18.2 points a game. The rushing game isn’t bad with 153.6 yards a game but isn’t spectacular either, but the passing game averages only 164.2 yards a game. The Gophers have 7 turnovers and have allowed 14 sacks this season. Minnesota is 26/78 on third and fourth down conversions, and 14/17 scoring in the red zone with 9 touchdowns. The Gophers are allowing 422.6 yards and 33 points a game. The pass defense is among the worst in the country allowing 266.2 yards a game. They  give up 156.4 rushing yards a game but when you can move the ball with ease through the air a rushing game isn’t really necessary for success. Minnesota has forced 4 turnovers and 2 sacks this season. Gopher opponents are 32/66 on third and fourth down conversions, and 18/22 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns.

Grey is the leading passer and rusher for the Gophers. He is 39/77 passing with 521 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He has 71 carries for 351 yards, and no rushing touchdowns. Back-up Max Shortell will take the snaps if Grey can’t go. Shortell is 24/50 passing for 300 yards 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and 11 carries for 14 yards. Duane Bennett has 53 carries, 197 yards, and a touchdown along with a catch for 9 yards. Donnell Kirkwood has 26 carries, 128 yards, and 3 touchdown runs. Receiver Da’Jon McKnight has 22 catches, 291 yards, and a touchdown reception. Malcolm Moulton has 11 catches for 150 yards. Eric Lair and Marcus Jones get significant targets as well. Kicker Chris Hawthorne is 10/11 on extra points and 5/8 on field goals with a long of 36 yards. Offensive lineman Josh Campion is doubtful with a concussion for the Purdue game. Offensive linemen Jimmy Gjere (concussion) and Zach Mottla (ankle) are both questionable.  Linebacker Brendan Beal is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Defensive backs Johnny Johnson (ankle) and Troy Stoudemire (arm) are both listed as doubtful for this game.

Purdue also had a forgettable day last week as they hosted Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish jumped out to a 21-0 lead, and cruised to a 38-10 win. Purdue only had 276 total yards including just 84 rushing yards, and 17 first downs. Notre Dame had 551 yards, including 287 rushing yards. Purdue had 13 penalties and a turnover.

Purdue is averaging 422.2 yards a game, including 215.2 rushing yards. The Boilermakers score 29.5 points a game. Purdue has 4 turnovers and has allowed 11 sacks this season. Purdue is 25/60 on third and fourth down conversions, and 16/19 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchd0wns. Purdue is allowing 379 yards a game, including 225.5 passing yards. The Boilermakers are allowing 21.5 points a game. Purdue has forced 2 turnovers and 4 sacks this season. Purdue opponents are 26/67 on third and fourth down conversions, and 9/10 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns.

Purdue has been playing all season without projected starting quarterback Rob Henry who tore his ACL in Fall Camp. Caleb TerBush has replaced him but Robert Marve also takes some snaps. TerBush is 61/96 passing for 647 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, along with 33 carries for 103 yards and one touchdown. Marve is 16/30 passing with 182 yards and a touchdown, along with 4 carries for 16 yards. Running back Ralph Bolden has 45 carries, 240 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Akeem Shavers has 34 carries, 190 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 2 catches for 14 yards. Akeem Hunt has 2 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Antavian Edison has 13 catches for 242 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Justin Stiller has 18 catches for 164 yards. O.J. Ross has 13 catches for 124 yards. Kicker Carson Wiggs is 14/14 on extra points and 6/9 on field goals with a long of 50 yards. Fullback Jared Crank is questionable with a foot injury. He is mostly used for blocking but does have a touchdown catch.

Purdue is 1-3 against the spread and the total is 2-1-1 this season. Minnesota is 2-3 ATS and the total is 3-2 this season. Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 as an underdog, 6-2 in the last 8 as a road underdog, and 0-4 in their last 4 October games. Purdue is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 following a double digit home loss, 9-20-2 ATS as a favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points, 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 home games, 7-23-1 ATS in their last 31 October games, and 1-4 in their last 5 overall.

It isn’t that Purdue is that great a team, but that Minnesota is not very good. The Gophers are especially bad without Grey, and Purdue should win this game rather easily. I don’t see a lot of points in this contest as neither offense is that spectacular.

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