Purdue Boilermakers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
College Football Pick: Minnesota -17 points (November 5th 2016)
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Purdue enters on a 3-game losing streak while allowing 46.0 PPG…My free play is on Minnesota at 3:30 ET.
Minnesota is quietly still in the Big Ten West Division race, as the Golden Gophers are 6-2 overall, including 3-2 in league play. That places them just one game back of No. 10 Nebraska, while being tied with No. 8 Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern. Minnesota has games still remaining against all the aforementioned teams, save Iowa. However, up first, the Golden Gophers host a 3-5 Purdue team, which is just 1-4 in Big Ten play.
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Minnesota enters the contest off three straight wins, including a 49-17 rout on the road last Saturday at Illinois. Purdue comes in off three straight losses, getting outscored 45-7 in the second half of their 62-24 loss at Penn State (Nittany Lions are now No. 12 in the CFP rankings). Purdue QB David Blough completed a career-high 34 passes on 50 attempts last week against Penn State and has at least one TD pass in every game this season. He’s thrown for 2,346 yards but owns a modest 57.8 completion percentage, as well as a so-so 16-12 ratio. He gets almost no help from a running game averaging 111.0 YPG (120th) on 3.6 YPC. The defense allows 36.9 PPG (116th) on 444.9 YPG (104th).
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Minnesota runs the ball well, averaging 207.2 YPG (37th) on YPC. The Gophers own an excellent duo in Rodney Smith (801 yards on 5.2 YPC with 10 TDs) and Shannon Brooks (472 yards on 5.1 YPC with five TDs). QB Leidner is a liability, throwing a for about half as many yards (1,274) as Purdue’s Blough), completing only 57.5 percent with just five TDs (but also only five INTs in 186 attempts). However, unlike Purdue, Minnesota has a solid defense, allowing just 22.1 PPG (30th) on 342.8 YPG (21st).
I’ll use a word of caution here, noting that the Golden Gophers have covered just once in the seven instances when they’re favored by at least 10 points. but they enter this game on a three-game winnings streak (averaging 35.0 PPG), while the Boilermakers enter on a three-game losing streak while allowing 46.0 PPG (have been out-scored 62-7 in the second half the past two weeks). What’s more, Minnesota has won the last three times it has faced Purdue (2015, 2014 and 2013), averaging 41.3 PPG. Lay the points.