It’s SoCon Saturday in the SEC, the time of year where the best and brightest in the conference play a cupcake game. It’s not so different in the Big Ten either with the blue bloods of the conference taking on bottom-feeders, and that’s just fine with Ryan Day and Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have 5-5 Minnesota coming to the Horseshoe ahead of The Game against Michigan next week, and the college football odds don’t think this one will be close. Ohio State is a 27.5-point home favorite, and in all likelihood will hope to get up early and preserve its star players for the war against the Wolverines. But there’s still value to be had with one of the Buckeyes’ best offensive playmakers.
Find out where my best bets lie in our free college football picks and predictions for Minnesota vs. Ohio State on Saturday, November 18.
Minnesota vs Ohio State best odds
Minnesota vs Ohio State picks and predictions
Given how Ohio State looked last week against Michigan State, the Golden Gophers could find themselves in a hole early. That’s the goal at least for Day’s offense in hopes of saving Marvin Harrison Jr.’s best for the Big House.
While nobody has been able to slow Harrison Jr. this season — and he currently sits fourth in Heisman odds at +500 — his 103.5-yard receiving line is slightly precarious. It’s hard to doubt a guy who’s coming off a three-touchdown, 168-yard from scrimmage performance against the Spartans, however, if the Buckeyes get up early, will he play enough to hit the Over?
Harrison Jr. has averaged 106.3 receiving yards per game, but Minnesota’s defense has been respectable in coverage, sitting 57th in EPA per pass and only allowing 226.6 passing yards per game. The other option is star running back TreVeyon Henderson, who has a 94.5-yard rushing line.
The Gophers have been far less productive stopping the run, they’re 98th in EPA per rush on defense and giving up 137.4 rushing yards per game, but again, will Henderson play long or have a big workload? He’s been dynamite since coming back healthy, and Day might look to keep his carries down to ensure he’s at full health against Michigan.
Last week, Henderson had just 13 carries in the blowout against Michigan State, yet Day has continued to get him involved as a pass catcher to help take some pressure off Kyle McCord and utilize his YAC ability. Since his return, he’s been consistently making plays as a receiver, which is why his 9.5 receiving yards line is where we find our value.
Henderson’s contact balance and quickness are the reason he’s potentially RB1 in the 2024 NFL Draft class, and his impact in the passing game is what separates him from many of the other top backs. On the season, Henderson has 14 receptions for 184 yards.
He’s averaging two catches for 26.3 receiving yards per game and those numbers have increased since coming back after the Notre Dame game. In his last three outings, he’s caught 11 passes for 139 yards, or 46.3 receiving yards on 3.6 receptions per game. This season, he’s gone Over 9.5 receiving yards in five of seven games.
Minnesota’s defense is coming off a game against Purdue in which it allowed 49 points and 52 receiving yards to running backs, and is dealing with some injuries.
“Unfortunately, some of our best players are out, and it seems like every week it's just the inconsistency of who's actually out there,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said Monday. “There's no excuses. I mean, 100% falls on the coaches and what we have to do to get better.”
On the season, Minnesota has given up 254 receiving yards to running backs in 10 games and has allowed at least 9.5 receiving yards to backs in six games.
For Henderson’s career, he’s averaging 1.6 receptions for 18.7 receiving yards per game and has hit Over 9.5 receiving yards in 13 of 28 games. Remove his injured sophomore season and he’s gone Over that line in 12 of 20 games.
My best bet: TreVeyon Henderson Over 9.5 receiving yards (-115 at bet365)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
Not intended for use in MA.
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Minnesota vs Ohio State same-game parlay
This is a lopsided matchup when it comes to Minnesota’s offense going head-to-head with Ohio State’s defense.
The Golden Gophers are 101st in EPA per play, 106th in EPA per pass, and 89th in EPA per rush. They’re averaging 22.5 points per game this season, 102nd in FBS, but have scored less than 14 in four games. In their three games against ranked opponents — North Carolina, Iowa, and Michigan — their average points per game drops to 11.6.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes are sixth in EPA per play on defense, fifth in EPA per pass, and 21st in EPA per rush. They’re allowing only 9.9 points per game, second-best in the country, and have yet to give up more than 17 in a game.
With Minnesota’s lack of identity on offense and Ohio State’s punishing defense, it’s hard to imagine too many points getting scored. Minnesota’s defense is respectable enough, 25.8 points allowed per game, and Ohio State isn’t likely to keep its starters in the game late in the second half.
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Minnesota vs Ohio State spread and Over/Under analysis
The line opened with the Buckeyes as 28 to 28.5-point favorites with most books settling in at -27.5 for Day’s program.
Ohio State has been a good bet to cover this season going 6-3-1 ATS. It’s coming off a 32-point cover, its biggest of the season, against Michigan State and is 5-2 ATS in the Big Ten.
Fleck’s team hasn’t been so lucky going 3-7 ATS. This is the biggest spread of its season, going 2-5 ATS in the Big Ten.
The total opened at 48.5 at most books, with it inching up between 49.5 and 50 pretty much everywhere.
No program in the country has been a more trusted Under bet this season than the Buckeyes. They’re 8-2 betting the Under and 8-1 in Big Ten games.
The Gophers have been down the middle this season, going 5-5 betting the Over. They’re 4-3 taking the Over in conference.
Minnesota vs Ohio State betting trend to know
Ohio State has only hit the Over in five of its last 13 games (-3.80 Units / -27% ROI). Find more college football betting trends for Minnesota vs Ohio State.
Minnesota vs Ohio State game info
|Location:||Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH|
|Date:||Saturday, November 18, 2023|
|Kickoff:||4:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Big Ten Network|
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