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Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by August 31, 2021
C.J. Stroud

Ohio State opens the post-Justin Fields era on the road in Minnesota. Fields was arguably the MVP of college football for the previous two seasons, and this should not go without stating when previewing Ohio State’s 2021 season. Now, it is highly-touted QB prospect C.J. Stroud’s turn to lead the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff. Ryan Day’s offense is suited to quarterbacks who can make throws inside the pocket, and Stroud is said to have the skill. His progression will be something to watch throughout.

Minnesota had a rough 2020 after a fine 2019, mainly because of their porous defense. That defense will be thrown straight into the fire in 2021. Joseph Rossi’s rush defense has been nonexistent the past two seasons allowing 3.5 rushing yards before contact per rush. They will need to turn that around if they hope to regain the momentum they built in 2019.

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  • Opening Line: Ohio State -14
  • Current Line: Ohio State -13.5
  • Over/Under: 65.5
  • Location: TCF Bank Stadium. Minneapolis, MN
  • Start Time: Thursday, September 2, 2021. 8:00 pm EST
  • Last Meeting: Ohio State 30 Minnesota 14


o 64.5
o 64.5


Minnesota returns nine offensive starters from 2020, including quarterback Tanner Morgan and four of his five offensive linemen. The Golden Gophers will continue to feature the RPO (run-pass option) as the primary look under coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. They have a bonafide WR1 in Chris Autumn-Bell, as the program has recently sent high-quality wideouts to the NFL. Autumn-Bell’s route running acumen could cause concerns for the Buckeye defensive secondary. Head Coach P.J. Fleck will use his rushing game to keep the potent OSU offense on the sidelines. Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim led FBS rushers with 28.7 carries per game in the shortened covid season a year ago. For the Golden Gophers to stay close, he will need to be near that number on Thursday.

Ohio State will protect their young QB as they return the nations best 1-2 punch on the left side in Thayer Munford (moved to LG) and Nicholas Petit-Frere at LT. C.J. Stroud is likely to have plenty of time to find the incredible talent at WR. Garret Wilson leads that group as one of the purest route-runners in the nation. Offensive points won’t be a concern, but will the Buckeyes defense (once you get past the front four) hold its own? That back seven is in flux, with plenty of talent but not as much experience. It could be a work in progress in the early going. Overall, this roster is stacked (as always) and lead by a great coach in Ryan Day. Expectations are high right from go again for the Buckeyes. Their young QB will have all eyes on him Thursday night when he finally takes a meaningful snap.

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  • Ohio State is 2-4 in their last 6 games ATS overall
  • Totals have gone OVER in 6 of Ohio State’s last 8 games on the ROAD
  • Minnesota is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games at HOME vs. Ohio State
  • Totals have gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 6 games at HOME
  • Ohio State leads the all-time series 45-7 against Minnesota

Bottom Line

Two touchdowns is a considerable number to lay on the road with a redshirt freshman QB against a high-quality coach and QB on the other side of the ball. P.J. Fleck will show that 2019 was no fluke in Minnesota and have his team prepared for the competition. Expect C.J. Stroud to ease into Ryan Day’s offense as the game wears on. Both offenses are capable units, so the OVER is in play despite the big Week 1 total. Ohio State gets out of town with a W, but Minnesota will also get their moral victory.

Prediction: Ohio State 39, Minnesota 31 (Minnesota +13.5 1.0u, OVER 65.5 1.0u)

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Aaron Pags is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyTriage.

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