Ohio State at Minnesota: 9/2/21 College Football Picks and Predictions
Photo by Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Golden Gophers (0-0) vs Ohio State Buckeyes (0-0)
Game Info: Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 8:00 pm (TCF Bank Stadium)
Betting Odds: Minnesota Golden Gophers +14 -- Over/Under: 64.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The Ohio State Buckeyes and Minnesota Golden Gophers face off on Thursday in a Week 1 college football showdown at Huntington Bank Stadium. The last time these two teams played was in 2018 with the Buckeyes winning 30-14.
Every year there are high expectations surrounding Ohio State, and this year is no different. Ohio State last season were impressive, finishing with a 7-1 record, and the only loss came against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship game. Ohio State scored 29 points in that game, but their defense gave up 49 . Justin Fields was key under center last year for Ohio State, but he has moved onto the Chicago Bears. Ryan Day has named C.J.Stroud the starting quarterback. Stroud was a four star prospect coming out of high school in the class of 2020, but he is going to be tested in this game. Stroud should have solid blocking up front with tackles Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere anchoring the offensive line. On defense Ohio State had issues with their secondary, but they only gave up only 97.6 yards per game on the ground. If Ohio State wants to cruise to a victory, it’s going to be the rush defense that needs to be strong.
On the other side of this matchup is the Minnesota Golden Gophers who finished last season with a 3-4 record but they dealt with a lot of COVID issues. Under center for the Gophers is Tanner Morgan who took a step back during the 2020 season, but in 2019 he was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. Minnesota has one of the best offensive lines in the Big Ten, especially with the running game. Minnesota also has one of the best running backs in the country in Mohamed Ibrahim. Last season, Ibrahim rushed 201 times for 1,076 yards, and 15 touchdowns. Gone for Minnesota is Rashod Bateman but this is still a talented wide receiver group led by Chris Autman-Bell. Autman-Bell is dealing with an injury though, and it’s unclear if he will be able to go. On defense, there could be room for improvement, but there are some players who transferred in like Nyles Pinckney who had previously at Clemson.
The Buckeyes are 7-3 against the spread in their last ten games played in September. Minnesota is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall. The over is 5-1 in Minnesota’s last six home games. The over is 4-1-2 in the Buckeyes last seven games overall. The Buckeyes are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games against the Gophers.
Ohio State is the better team, but they have a quarterback who is inexperienced, and there will be some struggles early. I expect Morgan and Ibrahim will have big games keeping them in this game. Minnesota has also covered five of their last seven games against Ohio State. Look for Minnesota to keep this game close and cover the spread.