Meineke Car Care Bowl Odds
The Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) will face off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) Friday, Dec. 28 at 9:00 PM ET in the Meineke Car Care Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Oddsmakers have listed Texas Tech as a 13.0-point favorite and have set the total at 57.0.
Why Texas Tech Covers
Minnesota’s poor finish to the season bodes well for Texas Tech. The Golden Golphers managed just over 22 minutes of possession time and only seven first downs in a 26-10 home loss to Michigan State in their regular-season finale. These statistics are noteworthy because the Gophers are on a 0-8 against the spread slide following a terrible performance where they had fewer than 26 minutes of possession time and less than 13 first downs. They have lost by an average score of 37.3 to 15.4 in this situation.
It is also significant that Minnesota has averaged just 194.0 yards per game over its last three games. That’s because it is on a 0-7 against the spread skid when playing away from home after averaging 250.0 yards or less over its last three games. It has lost by an average score of 36.1 to 15.1 in this situation.
The Minnesota offense is among the worst in the nation. The Gophers ranks 114th in total offense with 317.5 yards per game and 100th in scoring with 21.3 points per contest. To make matters worse, the Golden Gophers will be without top receiver A.J. Baker, who had a team-best 577 yards and seven touchdowns before quitting team in November.
While the Minnesota offense is among the nation’s worst, the Texas Tech offense is among the nation’s best. The Red Raiders rank 12th in the country in total offense with 501.4 yards per game and 16th in scoring with 37.8 points per game. They have especially been dangerous through the air where they rank second with 361.9 yards per contest.
Why Minnesota Covers
The Red Raiders have suffered coaching losses that could affect both sides of the football. First off, head coach Tommy Tuberville has left for Cincinnati.
Tuberville helped the Texas Tech defense make major strides. After finishing tied for 114th in the nation in total defense (485.6 yards) in 2011, the Red Raiders finished 39th (367.3) in 2012. They were the second-best defensive team in the Big 12 this season.
Despite the improvement, the Red Raiders still lost four of their last five games as they weren’t able to force a single turnover during this stretch. They only came up with 10 takeaways all season. It is also worth noting that they gave up at least 31 points in each of its last six games and were torched for more than 50 points four times during this stretch.
The loss of offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who has left to take the same job at Kentucky, will have an impact on the offense. With Brown calling the shots, the Red Raiders were one of the top offensive teams in the country. He knows what the players are capable of and what to go to in certain situations better than anyone else. The offense could certainly take a step back without him. Besides, Minnesota has been no pushover on defense. It ranks a respectable 29th in the country with 352.8 yards allowed per game.
I have picked Texas Tech to win this game. You can see the rest of my bowl predictions on this page. Also, be sure to take a look at who Jack Jones, Brandon Lee, Vegas Top Cappers and Carolina Sports have winning the Meineke Car Care Bowl.