#2 Michigan will travel to the Twin Cities for a night game matchup against Minnesota this Saturday (10/7/23). Get Michigan vs. Minnesota odds, predictions and picks below as our best bet is Michigan -18.5
Michigan Vs. Minnesota Best Bet
After slow starts against both Rutgers and Bowling Green, Michigan seems to have finally kicked into high gear after a road demolition of Nebraska. They once again looked like the team that ran unopposed through the Big Ten a year ago, and perhaps more relevantly, the one that many expected to contend for a national championship this season.
Blake Corum continues to look healthy and explosive after offseason surgery, and Roman Wilson continues his onslaught on the stat sheet with two more touchdowns, including a Randy Moss-esque leaping catch in the end zone over a Nebraska defender. Those two lead the Nation in rushing and receiving touchdowns, respectively, while quarterback JJ McCarthy is top of the list in total QBR. Overall, the team hung a season-high 45 points on the Cornhuskers, perhaps signaling the true start of their title hunt.
It’s been a tougher start to the year for Minnesota, who beat none other than Nebraska on opening day by virtue of a late comeback, but they’ve since lost uncompetitively to North Carolina, and even dropped a game at Northwestern. They bounced back nicely with a more convincing win against Louisiana, but they’ve done nothing to suggest that they can hang with a team like Michigan.
Quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis holds the dubious distinction of having attempted the most passes without a single big time throw- 121 tosses on 140 dropbacks, including five turnover worthy plays. The offense, for which many observers were optimistic heading into the season, has simply not worked, and the Wolverines’ defense- ranked sixth in the nation by EPA per play- is not going to be the opponent against which it’s going to break out.
By digging further into EPA per play, we can see that Minnesota has a very similar offensive profile to Nebraska; they can run the ball fairly efficiently, but they have no ability to create offense through the air. However, they’re a bit different offensively in the sense that Minnesota’s pass defense is significantly better than their run prevention, while Nebraska has shown the opposite.
That being said, Michigan’s run offense really blossomed against Nebraska, as the team racked up 249 ground yards in the win. Running the ball should be even easier against Minnesota, and the Wolverines will cruise to as many points as they care to score before pulling the starters.
I wouldn’t advise touching the total here. Michigan hasn’t been running up the score as much as they did early last season, as the offense has been effective but slow and methodical. This number is right up around what the Wolverines did last week, but I wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m relying on the Golden Gophers to contribute at all. Instead, let’s stick with the spread. Michigan appears to be launching their concerted effort to play their best football all game long, and if that’s the case, they should comfortably pull away by three scores.
Michigan Vs. Minnesota Best Bet: Michigan -18.5
Michigan Vs. Minnesota Best Odds
Oct. 07, 11:30 PM Spread Moneyline Odds updated October 8th, 2023, at 2:33 am
MICH @ MINN
Oct. 07, 11:30 PM
Odds updated October 8th, 2023, at 2:33 am
This is a spread that interestingly has varied a good bit from sportsbook to sportsbook, as Michigan is favored by anywhere from 18.5 to 20 points. The total is more consistent, sitting right at 46 almost regardless of where you look.
Michigan Vs. Minnesota Key Matchups
In this classic Midwestern matchup, establishing the run is going to be an absolute key for both sides, so let’s take a look at how those positional clashes might play out.
Minnesota Rushing Offense vs. Michigan Run Defense
With a pretty pedestrian passing attack, Minnesota is going to have to control the football and set the pace to protect their home field and hang with the #2 team in the country. The running game has had to adjust in a big way with record-setting running back Mohamed Ibrahim graduated, but they’re still 38th in the country in EPA per play on rushing snaps. PFF considers their offensive line to be the 56th best run blocking unit in the country, and Darius Taylor has run for 532 yards in four games at a rate of 6.1 per tote, and he’s scored four touchdowns on the ground as well.
The Michigan run defense is the sixth-best in the country by EPA per play, and PFF considers them to be the third-best run stopping unit in the FBS. Kris Jenkins has been absolutely phenomenal on the defensive line, while the linebacker unit headlined by Junior Colson has been a great anchor to this defense. D-lineman Mason Graham has missed time with injury, and will be returning this week; he should be a huge boost to the run-stopping effort against Minnesota.
Michigan Rushing Offense vs. Minnesota Run Defense
Michigan of course boasts a superstar running back duo with Corum and the speedy Donovan Edwards, and their offensive line is also ranked fourth in PFF’s run blocking grade. Overall, EPA has been a bit lower on this unit than one might expect, but if the Nebraska game was any indication, things are definitely moving in the right direction.
The Minnesota run defense has been an issue, and their inability to slow down Corum, Edwards, and even dual threat McCarthy is a huge reason I have them getting blown out in my Michigan vs. Minnesota prediction. They’re 88th in the country in EPA per play, and outside the top 100 in PFF’s grades. Anthony Smith has been solid on the edge, but there haven’t been too many other positives for this group. They’ll have to have by far their best performance of the year to keep this Michigan offense in check, and it’s just hard to see that happening.