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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Washington State Cougars – National Funding Holiday Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 27, 2016

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Washington State Cougars – National Funding Holiday Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – December 27, 2016


Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Washington State Cougars Football Betting Preview

Where: Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA

When: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 – 7:00 PM ET

Line: Minnesota Golden Gophers (TBA) at Washington State Cougars (TBA) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines

TV Broadcast: ESPN


College Football News and Previews


Betting on the Minnesota Golden Gophers (TBA)

The Golden Gophers had a strong year, but were a little off towards the end, when they suddenly alternated wins and losses in their final trio of games.

All can be credited to Mitch Leidner, because you just never know which QB version of himself is going to show up. The senior remained as a sneaky runner that can catch the defense napping, as he rushed for 10 scores in the season (one each in the last six contests). Passing wise, though, he just couldn’t build any decent momentum. He finished averaging 185.4 YPG on a 56.4-completion rate, along with a 7-12 TD-INT ratio, all of which were less than what he put up last year.

With the passing game a bit unthreatening, look for the team to continue pounding the ball in the ground. Through the effort of Leidner and running backs Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks, Minny is averaging 186.4 rushing YPG, which ranks 54th in the nation, jumping 48 places from last year’s rankings.

As for the defense, Minnesota has the advantage, especially on defending the run. Led by Steven Richardson and Blake Cashman, the Golden Gophers give up the 19th-fewest rushing yards (124.4) and 31st-fewest points (22.9) per game in the nation.

Minnesota went 8-4 in the season (4-6-2 ATS).

Betting on the Washington State Cougars (TBA)

The Cougars concluded their regular season the way they started it: two consecutive losses. They finished with an 8-4 card (6-6 ATS).

Still, they are a force to be reckoned with on offense, ranking second in passing yards (370.8 per game) and 14th in scoring (40.3 PPG). Luke Falk had one of the cleanest stats of any QB in the country, as he has a 37-10 TD-INT ratio and a second-best 71-percent completion rate.

As a result of the big production, his wideouts also had a great year. Three receivers had at least 700 yards and four had five or more TD grabs. That core, however, was highlighted by Gabe Marks, who had 85 receptions for 867 yards and 13 TDs.

The run game isn’t as good (128 YPG, 114th overall), but they can surely get to the end zone. The running back by committee scheme includes Gerard Wicks, James Williams, and Jamaal Morrow. Together, they had 22 running scores.

Defensively, the spotlight may belong to Pac-12 First-teamer Shalom Luani. The DB picked off four passes in the season, which was tied for second in the conference. He should be in a good position to add another INT under his belt, with Leidner being turnover prone.

Wazzu is 122nd in pass defense, 29th in rushing defense, and 56th in points allowed (27.2 PPG).

 

Writer’s Prediction

The Cougars win,

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JE
Written by JE

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