Last weekend was one to remember, if you are an Illinois Fighting Illini fan. However, if you are a Nebraska fan, you probably haven’t slept a minute after getting beat by Bret Bielema and Illinois during Week Zero of the college football betting season.
While most games will be played on Saturday, there are some other big games this week not on Saturday. Today, the Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Minnesota to take on PJ Fleck and the Golden Gophers. This isn’t the first time the Buckeyes have opened their season on a day other than Saturday. In 2015, the defending champs took on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on a Monday night. However, with this being a conference game, the Buckeyes need to be at 100% if they want to escape Minnesota with a win. Let’s take a look at how this Ohio State vs Minnesota matchup could play out for college football betting purposes.
Ohio State vs Minnesota College Football Betting Preview
Date: Thursday September 2nd, 2021
Time: 8 PM ET
Location: TCF Bank Stadium — Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ohio State vs Minnesota College Football Betting Odds
Spread: OSU -14 (-115) | MINN +14 (-105)
Moneyline: OSU (-650) | MINN (+425)
Total: 63 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
What to Watch For Ohio State Football
This should be a more hotly contested game than most expect. Ohio State enters the game ranked fourth in the country, but have to replace 11 starters from last year’s runner-up team. Of the 11 returning starters, six of them are on the offensive side of the ball. Chris Olave decided to stick around for his senior season in Columbus and has been a popular sleeper Heisman pick by some analysts. Another playmaker returning out wide is Garrett Wilson, who has had a great two years at Ohio State. Running back Master Teague returns as well as three offensive linemen. Newly-named starter at QB, CJ Stroud, has all the talent in the world around him to be successful. In the running game, be on the lookout for true freshman TreVeyon Henderson.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Buckeyes will start three new linebackers. On the defensive line Haskell Garrett returns, as does Tyreke Smith, who is looking to have his breakout season. In the defensive backfield, Sevyn Banks seems to be the next in line of great Ohio State corners. Safety Josh Proctor and corner Marcus Williamson also return in the secondary. On the defensive line, Zach Harrison also seems like the next in line of great Buckeye edge rushers. All indications are that this will be a great year for the young man. However, be on the lookout for two true freshmen in Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau. Sawyer made his impact in the Spring and will see some time in the rotation. Tuimoloau on the other hand, joined the team late this fall, but is talented enough to see the field early and often during his freshman campaign.
Finally, after watching Pete Werner and Baron Browning play SAM linebacker the past few years, the Bullet position may be coming back to the Ohio State defense. The hybrid linebacker-defensive back position seems to be locked down by Craig Young, an under-the-radar name who has elite athletic ability. Lathan Ransom will likely be the cover safety for the Buckeye defense. However, be on the watch for Demario McCall, who once played running back and receiver, but switched to the defensive side of the ball this offseason.
What to Watch For Minnesota Football
P.J. Fleck enters his fifth year at the helm in Minnesota. After an outstanding 2019 season where the Gophers went 11-2, the Gophers took a step back last year during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In 2019, they won the Outback Bowl and were ranked as high as seventh in the AP Poll.
This year, Tanner Morgan is back to guide the Gopher offense. In 2019, the only quarterbacks who were more efficient than Morgan were Justin Fields, Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts. That’s elite company. However, he didn’t quite play up to that level in 2020, partially because of the pandemic. As long as his completion percentage continues to trend upwards, he’ll be in a great position to have a very good year. Out wide for the Gophers, the receiver room is still very talented. Coach Fleck has commented and said that Chris Autman-Ball can have a career like Rashod Bateman’s as long as he continues to improve. Daniel Jackson is a name to keep an eye on. Wright is a transfer from Texas A&M that has a lot of explosive ability. On top of that, this will likely be Fleck’s best offensive line unit in Minneapolis. They should clear the way for Mohamed Ibrahim, one of the toughest backs in the country.
On defense, the unit will need to play near-perfect to match the Buckeyes offensive fire-power. Last year left a lot to be asked about on the defensive side of the ball. Just about everyone is back from a year ago, but that’s not always a good thing. They need to be a lot better at stopping the run, as they were gashed at times last year for big plays. Both the linebacker and defensive back units need to make more plays. Coney Durr is a great tackling corner with good ball skills. so Stroud will need to be looking out for him in the secondary.
Ohio State vs Minnesota College Football Betting Picks
Prediction: (4) Ohio State 38, Minnesota 20
As I stated earlier, I think this will be a much more hotly contested game than advertised. After having the exceptional Fields under center for two years, it’s going to be an interesting transition to CJ Stroud. However, he has Olave and Wilson out wide, with a plethora of good running backs as well. The biggest battle in this game will be Ohio State’s defensive line versus Minnesota’s offensive line. If the Buckeyes can get early pressure and force a turnover or two, it will take the wind right out of the sails of Minnesota’s rowing boat. However, if the Gophers can keep it close going into half-time, then watch out, this could be Purdue all over again for Ohio State fans.
However, I think the Buckeyes are in an elite class with only Alabama and Clemson. Their down years are still incredible as they just reload. I think Stroud will have a great game, as will Olave and freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson, who will find the end zone twice on the ground for the Buckeyes. (Ohio State -14, Under 63)
The only thing scarier than the Browns’ pass rush are clowns. Get the design that shows off both today!
Available shirts in men, women and kids, along with posters and tumblers! Click here or the image above to see!