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Ohio State vs. Minnesota best bets for Week 1

The Buckeyes and Golden Gophers open the Week 1 Big Ten action. We make some picks.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud of the Ohio State Buckeyes stretches before the Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes look to make it five-straight Big Ten titles, but will begin their quest in a cross-divisional matchup against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

While Justin Fields is off to the NFL, the Buckeyes return some of the best skill-position talent in all of college football. What the Gophers lack in recruiting stars they tend to make up for in keeping possessions and playing as mistake-free as possible with Tanner Morgan at the helm. This should be a good one to see where both teams stand in their post-Covid roster construction.

Updated SP+ per team

Ohio State: 4 (1 Offense, 27 Defense)
Minnesota: 24 (14 Offense, 50 Defense)

Injury update for both teams

Ohio State

DE Tyler Friday out for season (knee)
S Jaylen Johnson out for season (knee)
S Marcus Hooker out (suspended)

Minnesota

WR Chris Autman-Bell is probable (leg)

ATS/Total

Ohio State -14 (+100)
Total 63.5 (Over -105)

Bet Splits from DraftKings Sportsbook

Ohio State: 94% of handle, 91% of bets
Over: 30% of handle, 41% of bets

Recruiting talent

Ohio State
Offense 2, Defense 3, Team 2
Minnesota
Offense 54, Defense 52, Team 54

Returning production

Ohio State
Team 50% (128th of 130), Offense 52%, Defense 49%
Minnesota
Team 89% (17th of 130), Offense 87%, Defense 91%

Weather

61 degrees, 93% chance of rain, 13 MPH winds in Minneapolis

The Pick

Under 63.5

Some terrible weather in a Week 1 game with a new-look offense for Ohio State? And a Minnesota team that will want to do everything they can to limit possessions with the massively-experienced Tanner Morgan at the helm? This looks like the perfect spot to Row The Boat .. into deep water .. for PJ Fleck, and hope to get an extra possession or two to try and grind it out to be close in the fourth quarter.

Nine touchdowns will be tough to come by in this one with a wet everything. We’ll go under.

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