Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Purdue Boilermakers
College Football Pick: Purdue +3.5 (October 10th 2015)
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The betting markets play very close attention to NFL injuries, with the lines swinging fairly significantly on gameday based on player availability. But in college football, the betting markets only seem to react significantly when there is a quarterback injury that sidelines an effective starter.
That’s how we see lines like this one, with Minnesota as road favorites as they travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue this Saturday.
The Gophers have a third year starter at QB in Mitch Leidner. But Leidner has been completely ineffective – only 91 completed passes for 950 yards and four TD’s in their first five games of the season – because of the injuries surrounding him. He’s not fully healthy either. Head coach Jerry Kill: “He’s been beat up. You get hit — and we’ve been beat up on the offensive line — and he’s taken some shots. And you take those kinds of shots, your body wears down. So it’s been tough on him. I don’t think there’s any question about it.”
20 Gopher players missed practice on Wednesday due to injuries, including four starting offensive linemen and secondary studs Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Damarious Travis. Kill’s quote speaks volumes about why the Gophers have no business as road chalk at Purdue: “I’ve never seen anything like it in my 32 years of coaching. Just one of those years. What do you do? Like I tell our guys, ‘You can’t get down. You just coach them.’ We’re going to play with some young players probably, and that’s part of it. They’ll have to grow up, and we’ll be better down the road for it.”
Purdue hung tough with Minnesota last year, leading most of the game before a late Gopher field goal gave Minnesota a one point victory as 12.5 point favorites. And there’s no reason to think the Boilermakers can’t hang tough again, with frosh QB David Blough rallying the team from a 24-0 deficit at Michigan State last week, giving Purdue a legitimate spark. And with frosh RB Markell Jones coming off his best game — 157 rushing yards against the Spartans elite defense – a Purdue team that hasn’t had much to be excited about in recent seasons has some legitimate positive momentum right now. Expect the outright upset! Take Purdue.