Our handicapper thinks the wrong team is favored in the college football odds in this matchup. Are the Boilermakers finally turning the corner? Read on and find out where the betting value lies in this Big 10 contest.
In this Big 10 matchup, we have the Minnesota Golden Gophers visiting the Purdue Boilermakers. Minnesota is 3-2 on the year, while the Boilermakers have continued their toil with a 1-4 start. Early college football odds have the Gophers favored on the road by 3 points. The early O/U total is sitting at 45.5 points at multiple sportsbooks. The game can be found on ESPNU, if you have that sort of thing.
If Purdue can find a way to win this weekend against Minnesota, it would halve their win total over the last two seasons combined. With two wins. That’s how bad it has been to be a Purdue fan since 2013. But there is hope for improvement within the Big 10, as they are taking some steps forward, including a spirited game last week against the 2nd ranked Michigan State Spartans. Michigan State was up 21-0 early before Purdue stormed back, just to lose 24-21 late.
The brightest spot in the Boilermakers season thus far has to be the play of freshman running back, Markell Jones. Jones rushed for 157 yards and two teeders on 22 attempts against Michigan State, good for 7.1 yards per run. Jones has quickly taken the lion’s share of the carries from Purdue sophomore running back, D.J. Knox.
It’s going to be important for Purdue to get a fast start if they have any chance of winning this game, as Minnesota starts notoriously slow. The Gophers have only scored 3 points in the first quarter over the five games this year. In fact, through five weeks Minnesota’s offense is ranked 2nd to last in the FBS. They’ve already had a QB swap, as freshman Demry Croft started against Northwestern instead of junior Mitch Leidner. For this game it appears as if Leidner is back in the saddle.
Injuries are starting to pile up for Minnesota coming into this game. Eight starters are out for this game, with some out for the season. The absences for this game include safety Damarius Travis, cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, tackle Ben Lauer, tight end Lincoln Plsek, and punt returner Craig James. In addition to this list, there were four offensive lineman held out of practice on Wednesday. That doesn’t bode well for getting the offense clicking anytime soon.
I think we know enough at this point to create some value in this game on the wagering wire. The first is the slow starting Minnesota offense, reeling with offensive line problems. How I’m going to attack this information is to take the Under of 23.5 for the first half at Heritage.
I also think the public is focusing too much on the overall record of these teams, and think Purdue has more than even odds to come out of this game with a win. If you’re feeling cocky, go ahead and take Purdue at +135 at Heritage as well. For me, I’ll play it safe, and am going to take the 3.5 points and Purdue that you can get at Bovada as one of my college football picks.
College Football Picks: Purdue +3.5 & +135