Oregon State Beavers at Minnesota Golden Gophers College Football Betting Preview

Oregon State Beavers at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Thursday, September 1, 2016, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opening Line: Minnesota -9 1/2
Current Line: Minnesota -13 (-105)
Opening Total: 57
Current Total: 56
Opening Money Line: Minnesota -350 / Oregon State +250
Current Money Line: Minnesota -500 / Oregon State +400

Minnesota is a significant favorite over Oregon State Thursday night.
Minnesota is a significant favorite over Oregon State Thursday night.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers host the Oregon State Beavers Thursday night in the season opener for both teams. This is the fourth ever meeting between the schools with Minnesota leading the series 2-1. All three previous meetings have also been in Minneapolis, but they haven’t played since 1981. Minnesota will make the return trip to Corvallis next season.

Oregon State went 2-10 last year under coach Gary Andesen. Minnesota was 6-7 last year. Despite finishing 5-7 in the regular season, the Gophers qualified for the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit and beat Central Michigan. Tracy Claeys took over as the interim coach midway through last season when coach Jerry Kill had to resign for health reasons. Claeys was given the permanent position in the off-season.

Oregon State averaged 337 yards per game on offense including 159 passing yards and 19 points a game. The Beavers allowed 482 total yards per game including 226 rushing yards and 256 passing along with 37 points a game. OSU was -4 in turnovers and forced 12 turnovers. The Beavers averaged 59 penalty yards per game. Oregon State was 55/181 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 85/186. The Beavers were 26/31 scoring in the red zone with 19 touchdowns and opponents were 55/64 with 44 touchdowns.

Utah State quarterback Darell Garretson will be the starting quarterback beating out Marcus McMaryion. Seth Collins who started some games at quarterback moves to a halfback/wide receiver slash position. He led the Beavers in rushing last year with 575 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Ryan Nall will likely be the feature back after rushing for 455 yards and 3 touchdowns last year. Receivers Jordan Villamin and Victor Bolden are back after combining for 89 catches, over 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns. Paul Lucas will also play both receiver and halfback.

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Minnesota averaged 359 yards per game on offense including 214 passing yards and 23 points per game. The Golden Gophers allowed 346 yards per game on defense including 180 passing yards and 25 points per game. Minnesota was -4 in turnovers and had 22 turnovers. Minneaota averaged 46 penalty yards per game. The Gophers were 81/210 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 95/225. Minnesota was 31/36 scoring in the red zone with 19 touchdowns and opponents were 40/45 with 30 touchdowns.

Quarterback Mitch Leidner threw for 2,701 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and rushed for 270 yards with 6 touchdowns. He is back to run the offense.

Running back Rodney Smith had 157 carries for 670 yards and 2 touchdowns and had 16 catches. Shannon Brooks rushed for over 700 yards and 7 touchdowns, but he is doubtful with a foot injury.  Drew Wolitarsky (39 catches, 524 yards and 3 touchdowns) and Rashad Still (18 catches, 3 touchdowns) will be the go-to receivers.

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Oregon State is 3-8 ATS in non-conference games, 2-6 in road games, 5-16 overall, 3-10 on fieldturf, and 1-4 in September.

Minnesota is 5-1 ATS overall and on fieldturf, and 1-4 against Pac 12 teams.

These two teams struggled on offense last year. Minnesota at least had a good defense. I like the Gophers to win convincingly in a low scoring game.

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