The middle of the pack in the Big Ten East has long been better than the comparable levels of the Big Ten West, and 2022 has yet to give reason to begin thinking otherwise. That alone may be enough logic to trust the Penn State Nittany Lions at home against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Minnesota vs Penn State on October 22, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Minnesota vs Penn State best odds
Minnesota vs Penn State picks and predictions
With uncertainty around both veteran starting quarterbacks, this handicap becomes a bit of a frustration. As of early Friday morning, it’s not clear if either Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan (concussion) or Penn State’s Sean Clifford (undisclosed) will be available on Saturday night. In both cases, their backups are inexperienced and unknown.
So, hammer the Under, right? Not so fast. As at only 44 or 45, depending on your book, that number has seemingly been set low enough to account for this uncertainty, and if one or both of Morgan and Clifford end up playing, they could then smash the Over.
Rather, let’s steer away from the critical moments that will be so contingent on the quarterbacks and instead get our bet out of the way early.
In five of its six games this season, Penn State has led at halftime, all by at least a touchdown. The exception came last week against Michigan, trailing 16-14 at the break. Suffice it to say, the Wolverines are better than the Gophers.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has trailed at halftime in each of its last two games, also its first two losses of the season. Against their common opponent, the Gophers trailed Purdue 10-3 at halftime, while the Nittany Lions led the Boilermakers 21-10 after the second quarter.
These trends tie to more than just the quarterbacks. Minnesota has found when it cannot run with ease, its offense scuffles. Penn State’s rush defense is not among the best in the country, but it is certainly good enough to worry the Gophers to some extent.
And Penn State then relies on field position and early-down successes to get ahead, things that are not contingent on a quarterback.
Taking the first-half line here conveniently fits these habits, because mostly, it’s an attempt to remove the cloudy quarterback situations from the handicap. If this game comes down to the fourth quarter, then the passers will obviously be more pivotal. Without knowing who will play, betting on that moment creates unnecessary risk.
Betting on something more predictable amid that uncertainty, like the first-half tendencies, creates more predictable value.
My best bet: Penn State first half -2.5 (-110 at Caesars)
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Minnesota vs Penn State spread analysis
Something should be said for Penn State’s backup quarterback being a bit better known and perhaps more dynamic. Some even want freshman Drew Allar to take over for Clifford, even when the latter is healthy, largely out of broad impatience preferring change. Allar has not necessarily earned those demands — going 5-of-10 for 37 yards against Michigan last week after Clifford exited the game — but he has seen more playing time than Gophers backup Athan Kaliakmanis, also a freshman.
Kaliakmanis is just 5-of-11 on the season, with two interceptions on those few pass attempts.
Basing a bet on the thought of a sixth-year quarterback like Morgan not playing is an undue risk, but if he indeed does not play, then Penn State should probably be favored by more than 4.5, no matter if Clifford or Allar leads the way for the Nittany Lions.
After all, both Purdue and Illinois beat the Gophers & Morgan by double digits, and Penn State is better than both of those Big Ten West squads.
Minnesota vs Penn State Over/Under analysis
A few sharps have advocated for Under 44.5 this week, seemingly betting at least one of Morgan and Clifford will not play. It is a valid approach, trying to grab value in college football odds from the inefficiency created by injury uncertainty.
It might be valid, regardless of who takes snaps.
Both these defenses are better than the offenses, Penn State’s distinctly so. The home team is going to want to junk up this game and be the third team in a row to reveal Minnesota’s offense is more one-dimensional than it looked to start the season.
In front of a primetime Happy Valley crowd, that could work, and thus suppress the points. To further this thought, check the below “trends to know”, as they stacked up so nicely on the Under that they nearly became their own write-up.
Minnesota vs Penn State betting trend to know
The Under is 6-1 in Penn State’s last seven home games and 12-3-1 in its last 16 games following a straight-up loss, all coming under James Franklin. For Minnesota, the Under is 3-0-1 in its last four Big Ten games, all coming this season, as well as 4-1-1 in its last six games against teams with a winning record, including its last two games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Minnesota vs. Penn State.
Minnesota vs Penn State game info
|Location:||Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA|
|Date:||Saturday, October 22, 2022|
|Kickoff:||7:30 p.m. ET|
Minnesota vs Penn State latest injuries
Minnesota vs Penn State weather
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