It will be a battle of two ranked and unbeaten Big Ten teams when Penn State and Minnesota get together in Minneapolis this afternoon, and the stakes are high. Will the Nittany Lions keep their perfect season alive, setting up a mega showdown with Ohio State in two weeks, or will the Golden Gophers extend their best start to a season since 1941? Speaking of high stakes, you can bet on this game at DraftKings Sportsbook PA, which became the newest of the PA online sportsbooks to go live this week, but before you do, let’s check out the odds, top prop bets, and what you need to know with our Penn State vs. Minnesota betting predictions and preview.
No. 5 Penn State and No. 13 Minnesota both enter this contest without a blemish on their records, but their paths to perfection have been very different. Penn State has had the seventh-most difficult schedule thus far, scoring key road victories over No. 18 Iowa and a Michigan State team that had gotten the better of the head-to-head matchup in recent seasons. Those two wins were sandwiched between a crucial win at Beaver Stadium over No. 14 Michigan.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has had the nation’s 77th most difficult schedule to this point, roughing up Big Ten afterthoughts like Nebraska, Illinois, and Rutgers in recent weeks and hasn’t faced an opponent’s No. 1 quarterback from start to finish since Week 2. There’s little question that P.J. Fleck’s squad would like to silence their doubters, and they will have a golden (pun intended) opportunity to do it in front of a sold-out TCF Bank Stadium this afternoon.
Led by an offense that has scored 30+ points in seven consecutive games, Minnesota can prove its legitimacy over a Penn State squad that hasn’t surrendered more than 21 points in any game this season. Which of these Big Ten teams will remain perfect come late Saturday afternoon and which will cover the spread? Let’s get into it.
How to Bet on Penn State vs. Minnesota
How to Watch Penn State vs. Minnesota
- Date: Saturday, November 9
- Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
- Location: TCF Bank Stadium (Minneapolis, MN)
- Network: ABC
- Announcers: Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst), Holly Rowe (sideline)
Penn State vs. Minnesota Weather
It’s late-season Big Ten football weather, baby.
It’s going to be cold in Minneapolis today with temperatures near 40 degrees under mostly cloudy skies at kickoff. Temperatures are expected to dip into the upper 30s by the fourth quarter with a 60% chance of second half showers. Winds will be blowing from the west at 8 mph. Simply put, the cold and potential for late-game precipitation could make things difficult for both offenses. Just something to keep an eye on.
Penn State vs. Minnesota Odds
Here are the current Penn State vs. Minnesota betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook as of early Saturday morning:
|Penn State||-6.5 (-110)||-250||O 47.5 (-110)|
|Minnesota||+6.5 (-110)||+200||U 47.5 (-110)|
Note: The spread and total has held mostly firm throughout the week with Penn State favored by 6.5 points and the over/under set at 47.5.
FOX Bet is offering new users the ability to triple their money if Penn State simply wins the game. Forget the point spread, forget the -250 moneyline odds. Bet on Penn State to win ($25 max bet) and walk away with up to as much as $75 dollars. Read more about that deal right here.
Penn State (-7) is also part of Colin Cowherd’s Marquee 3 bet boost this week, along with Alabama (-6.5) and Texas (-7). Grab all three to cover at a boosted +650 payout.
But wait, there’s more!
FOX Bet is also offering five other bet boosts on this game. If you’re expecting a close one today, you can grab Penn State to win by 1-6 points at +400 or Minnesota to win by 1-6 points at +550. Typically, I don’t love the idea of hedging on a pregame proposition, but you can take a shot on both plays and walk away with a healthy payout if one of them hits.
Penn State vs. Minnesota Prop Bets
Over at DraftKings Sportsbook, there are some player props that are worth a look. I’m keying in on Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth to score (+100). He’s found the end zone seven times this season, including three times in the Nittany Lions’ win over Michigan State on Oct. 26. He has also scored in three of his last four games.
I also like Noah Cain, who has only rushed for a combined 40 yards on 11 carries over the last two weeks, to go over 47.5 yards (-112). Cain showed his toughness with a 102-yard performance on 22 carries at Iowa last month, and though Penn State has a deep backfield, this feels like his type of game.
With Penn State a near-touchdown favorite on Saturday afternoon, let’s look at this one from a different angle by using ESPN’s FPI model.
Simply put, we like to do this because we feel that it’s often worth a look to compare the implied probability of the moneyline odds with a second source in order to see if any betting value exists.
In relation to the Nittany Lions’ FPI win probability, the -250 moneyline odds (71.4 % implied win probability) at DraftKings Sportsbook mean that there is some ever so slight moneyline value on Penn State.
As for Minnesota, there’s no value on the Golden Gophers at +200 moneyline odds (33.3% implied win probability) when stacked against the FPI projection.
Penn State vs. Minnesota Injury Report
Running back Noah Cain left Penn State’s win over Michigan State with a minor leg injury two weeks ago and will play today, but the biggest loss for the Nittany Lions actually isn’t due to an injury. Starting defensive tackle Antonio Shelton (2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks) will miss this game after violating the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy for alledgedly spitting on a Michigan State player in that game.
His absence could be problematic against a massive Minnesota offensive line whose average member is 6’6″ and 340 pounds. That line has paved the way for a rushing attack that is averaging over 200 yards per game this season and is only getting better. Minnesota’s offensive line began the season with four new starters and struggled early, allowing 15 sacks as the Gophers netted only 2.6 yards per carry in their first four games. Over the last four games, however, the same group has allowed only one sack while springing the Gophers’ rushing attack to 5.9 yards per carry.
Linebacker Kamal Martin, an NFL Draft prospect who is tied for the Minnesota team lead with 49 tackles, injured his knee against Rutgers on Oct. 19 and is a game-time decision.
Penn State vs. Minnesota Betting Trends
Note: All trends date back to the start of the 2005 season, unless otherwise noted.
Why Backing Penn State is a Good Bet
Penn State=Pretty Good
Penn State is 10-5 ATS as a road favorite of 6.5 points or more and 8-4 ATS when favored by 6.5 points or more in conference games under James Franklin.
Penn State is 19-8-3 ATS against winning teams since the start of the 2016 season.
Big Trouble for Big Ten Dogs
There is significant trend data working against Minnesota in this spot, including:
- Big Ten road favorites of 5-7 points are 24-13-2 ATS.
- Big Ten home underdogs of any spread playing a ranked conference opponent are 73-103-3 ATS.
- Big Ten home underdogs of any spread playing a Top 10 conference opponent are 35-52-1 ATS.
We pull trends for every game we look at, but these are two of the strongest we’ve encountered this season:
- Big Ten home underdogs of between 5-7 points are only 3-17-2 ATS against ranked conference opponents.
- Big Ten home underdogs of between 5-7 points are only 1-8 ATS against Top 10 conference opponents.
Why Backing Minnesota is a Good Bet
Sometimes there’s intangible factors that can’t be ignored. Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck is a master motivator and almost all of his team will be playing in front of a sold out home crowd for the first time in their careers. The Gophers haven’t sold out since the 2015 season finale, so it should be an electric atmosphere. Moreover, Fleck will have no problem selling the underdog angle to his squad as they enter this game as a 6.5-point home underdog despite a perfect 8-0 record.
Penn State’s Top 25 Road Issues
Penn State is only 5-13 ATS on the road against Top 25 teams and 2-5 ATS (1-6 SU) against them under Franklin.
Minnesota is 11-8 ATS at home overall and 4-2 ATS as a home underdog under Fleck.
A Word on the Total
No official play here, but there is some trend data that suggests the over is the right side:
- The over is 7-3 in Penn State conference road games played after the month of September when the under hit in their previous game.
- The over is 30-21 in Penn State conference road games played after the month of September.
- The over is 56-39 in Big Ten conference games when the total is set between 46.5-48.5 points.
Where’s the Action?
As noted above, the spread and total have remained consistent throughout the week. Currently, 65% of spread bets and 56% of spread money backs Penn State, while 44% of bets and 46% of the money is on the over.
Penn State vs. Minnesota Prediction
The context of this game concerns me. Minnesota is an overlooked and extremely well-coached home underdog despite an 8-0 record. Penn State, meanwhile, currently holds one of the four College Football Playoff spots and undoubtedly has an eye on Ohio State in two weeks. Minnesota is legit–quarterback Tanner Morgan (1,761 yards, 18 TD, 4 INT) can chuck it and he has a talented group of wide receivers that can go get it. It’s worth noting, however, that Morgan’s over/under for passing yards in this game is only 199.5 at DraftKings, which is a relatively low number and would suggest he’s not expected to “go off” today.
Ultimately, Penn State is battle-tested and has answered the bell time after time over recent weeks, and it would seem they are the stronger, more complete team. I like Penn State to win (new users can grab them at a +200 payout with FOX Bet right here), and I’ll also lean on them to cover.
Prediction: Penn State (-6.5) over Minnesota