Two teams desperate for a win will meet this weekend when the Minnesota Golden Gophers host the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Kickoff is at noon EST on Saturday, November 11 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Fans can watch the game on FS1.
The Golden Gophers are listed as 2.5-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is 47 points. Click here for a full list of Week 11 betting odds and links to game previews.
Nebraska vs Minnesota Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Minnesota is reeling as the Gophers reach the end of P.J. Fleck’s first season at the helm. After a promising start to the season, the Golden Gophers have lost five of their last six games. They are just 1-5 in Big Ten play and need to win two of their last three to reach a bowl game and salvage their season. With two ranked teams left on their schedule, the Gophers can’t afford to lose a home date against Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers are in a similar position. Nebraska is 3-3 in conference play but 4-5 overall. They’ve also lost three of their last four games after coming up short against Northwestern last week. Much like Minnesota, they have two ranked teams left on their schedule, and so a loss this weekend would be disastrous for their bowl hopes.
Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Minnesota -2.5
Typically, I’d favor the more desperate team in a game like this, but in this case, that’s a push. Instead, I’ll favor the team that’s rebuilding rather than the team facing a coaching change at the end of the season. With that in mind, I’ll lean toward the Gophers to win by at least a field goal.
When it’s November in the Big Ten, it’s usually best to lean toward the better running team. In this case, that’s Minnesota. When the Golden Gophers have been at their best this season, they’ve had success running the ball. With Demry Croft taking over at quarterback for the last month, Minnesota also has a running threat at that position, which should help them in a game like this.
Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.
More importantly, Nebraska defense has been shredded by the run in recent weeks. Nebraska’s last four opponents have all averaged at least 5 yards per carry on the ground. Even Purdue ran the ball effectively against the Cornhuskers in a game Nebraska won. If the Gophers average 5 yards per carry running the ball, they’re chances of winning go up significantly.
On the other side of the ball, Nebraska has one of the worst rushing attacks in the country, gaining just 120 yards per game. Combine a lackluster running game with a quarterback in Tanner Lee who has been turnover prone at times this season, and the Nebraska offense doesn’t look all that reliable.
On top of that, Minnesota’s defense has been a little underrated this year. On the season, the Gophers are only giving up 20 points per game. For the most part, they’re able to bend but not break defensively, which could be good enough to keep a team like Nebraska in check.
On paper, this definitely looks like a tight matchup that could go either way. To be fair, Nebraska has the better quarterback, which shouldn’t be dismissed. But in November, I prefer the better running team and the better defensive team. In this game, that team is Minnesota, so I’ll take my chances with the Golden Gophers.