Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota Gophers – College Football (September 2nd, 2021)

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| August 30, 2021 10:25 am PDT

The Big Ten has five conference matchups on the opening week (Week 0, Week 1), and the fans are thrilled about these showdowns. A road game is never a walk in the park for this impressive conference, but there will be early-season struggles and challenges.

Ohio State last started their season on the road in 2017 when they went to Bloomington on a Thursday night against Indiana.

The mistakes were all made in the first half, but Ohio State cruised in the second half. To avoid a letdown this time, they will need starting quarterback C.J. Stroud to take care of the ball and deliver it on time.

Minnesota had a magical 11-2 season in 2019 but was a disappointing 3-4 last year. PJ Fleck would love to reach the postseason, but it will take a colossal effort against the Buckeyes.

Plan on betting on Ohio State vs. Minnesota? Before you do, check out the latest Ohio State vs. Minnesota odds, along with my prediction and top bet to target.

Ohio State vs. Minnesota Odds

Ohio State -13.5-113
Minnesota +13.5-107
Ohio State to Win-550
Minnesota to Win+430
Over 65-110
Under 65-110

The pricing above can be found at BetOnline, where the Buckeyes are rightfully nearly two-touchdown favorites.

These two teams have different types of expectations this season. Minnesota would like to go bowling, and the Buckeyes want to get back to the national championship.

Minnesota returns a devastating duo in the backfield with running back Mohammed Ibrahim and quarterback Tanner Morgan. These two are Sunday players, and the hope is they can carry the program to the postseason.

The loss of Justin Fields and Trey Sermon in the backfield is a cause for concern for 99% of programs, but the Buckeyes are special. C.J. Stroud is among the top Heisman favorites entering the season thanks to an elite offensive unit.

It is time to take a closer look at this Ohio State vs. Minnesota matchup by breaking it down from both sides.

Why Ohio State Wins

The Buckeyes are loaded, and there are no glaring weaknesses. The only staggering nugget on the Buckeyes is they will have no quarterbacks with a passing attempt for the first time since 1952!

No worries, the best two receivers in the nation are on the Buckeyes. Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave will torch opposing Big Ten defenses this season, and they’re easily two of the most explosive players in college football.

Wilson is a human highlight-reel and is a human pogo stick with his surreal bounce ability. He is an explosive player that loves to roam towards the sidelines.

Olave is not too shabby himself, and he is turning into a Cris Carter-like player with his ability to expose defensive backs for six. The touchdown machine could be a first-round pick, and Wilson will be right behind.

Ohio State has one of the top non-conference matchups in the season in Week 2 against Oregon.

A letdown loss to Minnesota would spell doom for a program that has finished in the AP Top 10 for seven straight seasons.

We haven’t seen the program start the season unranked since 1988. They are an elite program that is chasing their first national title since the 2014-15 season. They have a talented edge at every position, and it all begins with a road victory at the Gophers home turf.

Why Minnesota Wins

The Gophers were loaded at wide receiver two seasons ago when they had Tyler Johnson, Rashod Bateman, and Chris Autman-Bell. Morgan two years ago looked destined to become a premier passer in the NFL. Morgan is still in college and will improve upon his 7/5 TD/INT ratio from last season.

Morgan is vital since the weakness of the Buckeyes could be the secondary. The Gopher signal-caller needs to connect on his shots down the field.

The ability to stay balanced with running back Mohamed Ibrahim could allow them to stay in this game. He was a monster in 2020, and he’s understandably Minnesota’s meal ticket here.

If Ibrahim goes off, the Gophers pulling off the upset may not be that wild.

Minnesota has one of the bigger o-lines in the country, and it ranks among the top 20 best based on pure size alone. If Ibrahim can get downhill and dominate the time of possession, pressure will mount on Ohio State.

We have not seen the Buckeyes lose a Big Ten since 2018 (Purdue), but Minnesota is one of the few that has the pieces to pull it off.

Ohio State vs. Minnesota Prediction

The Buckeyes have not missed a beat since Ryan Day took over for Urban Meyer. He’s already one of the best coaches in college football, after all.

The skill players on both sides of the ball are future NFL draft picks. This season will feature plenty of them on offense, and they have the benefit of being able to outscore any opponent on the schedule.

Minnesota cannot score on every possession, so they will need to force a few turnovers or win the battle of field position early on.

Ohio State could flex on the majority of their possessions. Their ability to run the ball on the edges will allow their passing game to have a field day.

This team could be as balanced as any offensive attack in the nation. This game the opportunity for a freshman to shine.

Treveyon Henderson brings home-run speed to the Buckeye backfield. Trey Sermon is gone, so while many expect Master Teague to get the touches, Henderson is the more talented back. He will be the best freshman back in the nation. Ohio State wins this one.

Ohio State vs. Minnesota Pick

Take the value here with the Buckeyes under two touchdowns at most college football betting sites. Ohio State should beat most of their opponents by two-plus touchdowns. The Gophers will be lucky to avoid the bottom three of the West division.

This game will come down to the Buckeyes offense avoiding a slow start. The NFL skill players should be licking their chops against a Minnesota defense that could be the worst in the entire Big Ten.

Forget the money line without any value, but feel free to pound the Buckeyes at -13.5. This game should get ugly by the start of the second half.

Pick
  • Ohio State Buckeyes (-13.5)
    -113

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