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Michigan, Minnesota Finally Kick Off Big Ten Campaigns

Michigan Wolverines vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Preview

The Golden Gophers hope to build on last year’s success when they host the Wolverines in the season opener for both squads. Michigan has dominated the Little Brown Jug rivalry, however, winning its last 16 visits to Minnesota. Oddsmakers opened the Wolverines as 3-point road favorites.


Michigan Wolverines Vs Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Date/Time: October 24, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium
  • TV Coverage: ABC
  • Opening Odds: Michigan -3 | O/U 55 (Line History)
  • Michigan at Minnesota (Matchup Report)

Opening Odds Analysis

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Wolverines as the favorite here. Michigan has been favored in all but one of the teams’ meetings since 1980, going 30-3 SU and 22-11 ATS during that span. Still, early bettors have bought in on the Gophers, moving this line as low as -1 at some sites as of Sunday night.

Michigan News & Notes

Although quarterback Joe Milton hasn’t started a game since high school, there’s already quite a buzz about the redshirt sophomore. Many have raved about Milton’s strong arm, seeing potential for a much more explosive downfield passing game from Michigan this season than the Wolverines had with Shea Patterson under center.

It may take time for that downfield passing game to show, however, as Michigan opens the season with four new starters on the offensive line. The Wolverines also need to replace star wide receiver Nico Collins and defensive back Ambry Thomas, who both opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.

A road game against Minnesota doesn’t seem like an ideal way to start figuring out how to patch those holes. Michigan is just 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games on the road, and the Wolverines were 2-4 SU last year against ranked opponents.

Minnesota News & Notes

Quarterback Tanner Morgan and wide receiver Rashod Bateman headline a cast of returnees from the offense that helped Minnesota go 11-2 last year. Bateman’s return is a pleasant surprise after the reigning Big Ten receiver of the year had initially opted out of the season to enter the NFL draft. Bateman caught 11 touchdown passes and averaged 20.3 yards per reception in 2019, while Morgan set school single-season records for yards, TD passes and completion percentage.

The Golden Gophers were a strong OVER team toward the end of last year, going OVER the number in six of their final seven games. Minnesota may need to outscore teams again this season because of a heavy turnover on defense. Six of 11 starters are gone, including star safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and five of the team’s top six tacklers. Other than Winfield, however, Minnesota’s secondary remains intact.

Betting Pick: Minnesota +2

The Golden Gophers’ continuity on offense should give them an advantage against a Michigan team rolling out a new quarterback and offensive line. I like Minnesota to improve to 20-11 ATS in its last 31 games as a home underdog.

Shark Bites
  • Michigan is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 road games.
  • Minnesota is 13-2 SU in its last 15 games.
  • The OVER is 5-1 in Michigan’s last 6 games at Minnesota.