The #5 overall Penn State Nittany Lions (8-0) head to Minneapolis this weekend for a massive BIG 10 showdown against the #13 overall Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-0). Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on November 9th at TCF Bank Stadium and the game will be nationally televised on NBC.
Taking a look at the Week 11 college football odds, Penn State opened as a 6.5-point road favorite earlier this week. The spread has increased by half a point after early betting, as the Nittany Lions are currently available at -7. The total for the game is sitting at 48 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Minnesota vs Penn State
Penn State managed to remain unbeaten on the season their last time out, beating Michigan State 28-7 on the road to improve to 8-0 overall. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half and never looked back, giving up just a single touchdown over the final two quarters of the game. QB Sean Clifford went 18/32 for 189 passing yards and four touchdowns through the air to lead the charge on offense. None of the backfield really found any running room against a tough Spartans defense, as Journey Brown led the way with just 45 rushing yards on 12 carries. Pat Freiermuth was clearly the star of the game offensively, making five catches for 60 receiving yards and three touchdowns. As a whole, Penn State gained over 300 total yards of offense and found the end zone four times in the victory.
The Nittany Lions had a fantastic outing on the other side of the ball against Michigan State, holding the Spartans to only 267 yards of total offense and one touchdown. Penn State was especially strong defending against the pass, as they recorded two interceptions while also limiting QB Brian Lewerke to 165 yards through the air.
Minnesota also stayed perfect through their first eight games of the season in their last outing, crushing Maryland 52-10 at home to improve to 8-0 overall. The Golden Gophers scored four touchdowns in the first half and cruised to victory over the final two quarters, outscoring the Terrapins 24-7 down the stretch en route to a blowout victory. QB Tanner Morgan didn’t have to do much through the air, going 12/21 for 138 passing yards and two touchdowns. RB Rodney Smith led the way on the ground, rushing for a team-high 103 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Rashod Bateman also got in on the scoring parade, finding the end zone on one of his three catches for 39 receiving yards. Overall, Minnesota generated almost 500 total yards of offense and scored six touchdowns against a shell-shocked Terps defense.
The Golden Gophers were very solid defensively against Maryland, giving up just over 200 total yards of offense and only a single touchdown. Minnesota completely shut down the Terrapins on the ground, surrendering only 79 total rushing yards.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Minnesota +7
Other than the massive SEC showcase game between Alabama and LSU, this matchup is shaping up to be one of the best games on the entire schedule here in Week 11. Not only have these two programs gone a perfect 16-0 combined outright, they are also a joint 10-5-1 against the spread through their first eight games of the season. Unless this spread comes down a lot prior to kickoff, I’m definitely leaning towards taking the full touchdown and rolling with the home underdogs in a game they could easily win outright. I certainly like the Golden Gophers to keep things close for four full quarters, as Penn State hasn’t really blown out quality opponents so far this year. In fact, the Nittany Lions only beat Pittsburgh, Iowa, and Michigan by a combined 19 points – and two out of those three games were at home.
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It is also important to note that Minnesota put on a show the last time they met Penn State at home, beating the Nittany Lions by two full touchdowns despite being favored by only two points. While things will certainly be much tougher for the Golden Gophers this time around, it’s hard to bet against a team receiving a full touchdown against the spread that has yet to lose a single game so far this season. Minnesota is also a perfect 6-0 against the spread over their last six conference games and a 5-0 against the spread in their last five games overall. I’m going to take the points and take a shot with the Golden Gophers to keep things rolling at home on Saturday afternoon – give me Minnesota to cover and possibly even win outright!