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The Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2) will travel eastward to face the Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1) in State College, Pennsylvania on Saturday night. NCAAF handicapper Matt MacKay is here to make his predictions.

Penn State vs. Minnesota Prediction, Pick, and Odds: Can Sean Clifford, Nittany Lions Roar Back After Loss?

Penn State entered Week 7 with a 5-0 record but its defense could not hold Michigan off in the second half, falling 41-17 for its first loss of the season. Running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen form a nice one-two punch in the Nittany Lions' backfield, while senior quarterback Sean Clifford has played a good brand of football under center.

Minnesota has also been a nice surprise in the Big Ten West, holding its opponent to 11.7 points per game, which ranks fourth best in the country. Despite the high accolades on the defensive side of the football for the Golden Gophers, the conference schedule has been rough recently. Losses to Purdue and Illinois have head coach P.J. Fleck and the rest of Minnesota with their backs against the wall entering a difficult primetime matchup in State College on Saturday night.

Will the Golden Gophers be the first team to upset the Nittany Lions at home? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Saturday's primetime matchup between the Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions.

Penn State vs. Minnesota Start Time and Where to Watch

Date: Saturday, October 22

Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: ABC

Penn State vs. Minnesota State Odds

Spread: Minnesota +5 (-110), Penn State -5 (-110)

Total: Under 44.5 (-110), Over 44.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Minnesota (+170), Penn State (-200)

Click Here for Penn State vs. Minnesota Odds

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Penn State vs. Minnesota Injury Report


RB Trey Potts (Probable - Undisclosed), QB Tanner Morgan (Questionable - Head)

Penn State

WR Liam Clifford (DTD - Upper Body), WR Jaden Dottin (DTD - Undisclosed)

Penn State vs. Minnesota Prediction

State College is a difficult environment for any road team to conquer. Add in Minnesota's quarterback, Tanner Morgan, who is dealing with a head injury, and it becomes an even bigger challenge to overcome. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim is the heartbeat of the Golden Gophers' offense this season, averaging 6.7 YPC and handling over 100 carries through five games. His nine touchdowns have all come on the ground and Penn State's defense is susceptible to talented running backs, as they just allowed Michigan running back Blake Corum to rip off 166 yards and two touchdowns last weekend.

Penn State's offense looked great early in the season, hanging 33 or more points in four consecutive games against teams like Purdue and Auburn to climb the AP Top 25 rankings. Games against Northwestern and Michigan saw the offense come crashing down to mediocrity, scoring only 17 points as Sean Clifford's struggles have become noteworthy. Clifford's completion percentage has gone down below 50 percent during the offensive stagnation, which plays right into the hands of Minnesota's defense.

This game will be determined by turnovers. Last week, the Golden Gophers failed to force any turnovers for the first time all season, resulting in a 26-14 loss to Illinois. Meanwhile, Penn State's defense has forced turnovers in four straight outings, including an interception against Michigan last week. Morgan is a capable quarterback but he doesn't do huge damage through the air, and when he does attempt over 20 passes, quite a few of them tend to be interceptions. The Nittany Lions should be able to quickly build a lead if Minnesota turns away from its rushing attack.

The last time these two teams played in 2019, Minnesota won outright as a 6.5-point underdog at home. This time around, Penn State has the edge with a deeper backfield and a gritty pass defense that has held five of its six opponents to under 300 passing yards this season. Morgan is dealing with his head injury and has thrown three interceptions against less talented Big Ten West opponents across the past two weeks.

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The line that jumps out to me is the point total, which is set at 44.5. The Golden Gophers have not scored more than 14 points in October and Penn State has also been unable to surpass 17 points during this same stretch. I expect Penn State to win but it could wind up being under the 5.5 points they are receiving as home favorites. 44.5 is a low point total for college football but these are two offenses that rely on ground-and-pound schemes, paired with hard-nosed defenses. It's a classic Big Ten matchup that could wind up 21-17 or 31-6. Either way, give me the under in this game.

Penn State vs. Minnesota Pick

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Article Author


Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.


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