It is a mere three days away, but the start of the Minnesota Gophers 2017 season is finally upon us, and new head coach P.J. Fleck will finally get to lead this team in actual football. With the opener right around the corner, it is time for some in-depth game predictions, as well as some gambling tips if you’d like some extra cash in your pocket.
- The Gophers find a quarterback, and it is Demry Croft. The Gophers announced early in August that they would continue the quarterback battle into the regular season, starting both Croft and Conor Rhoda. Croft has shown the ability to hang in the pocket and play mistake-free football while slinging the ball downfield, kicking the offense into a different gear. The Gophers need a quarterback who can really spread the defense and give their backs space. Croft is their man for a better offense.
- Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks have 260 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Buffalo gave up 253 yards per game against opposing running backs last season, and the two-headed beast the Gophers boast is designed to be a one-two punch that works a defense all game long. Brooks averages over 5.0 yards per carry in the first quarter while Smith hits that mark in the fourth. With new quarterbacks sharing time, the running game is the biggest part of the Gophers offense.
- Jonathan Celestin breaks out with three tackles for loss and a sack. With two of the starting linebackers from last season gone, Celestin has a huge opportunity for a big season. He and Cody Poock are the returning starters who can make a big impact. Celestin had 2.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss last season and now can be the primary backer in the defense he had 80 tackles for a year ago.
- Smith houses a kickoff return. Smith had 263 return yards on just eight touches back deep with a return touchdown last year. The speedster will be ready to rumble, and the Bulls have a habit of giving up plenty of points. Smith will have plenty of space to on special teams to get in the open field and burn the opposition.
- The Gophers are favored by 25 points on most gambling sites. The Bulls lost six game by 24 points or more last season, and the weakest part of the Bulls defense is the strongest part of the Gophers offense. While it is tempting to take Buffalo and bet on them only losing by 20, take Minnesota and the points. This is some easy money early on in the college football season.
- The over-under for the game is currently at 50 combined points. Minnesota’s defense will be stifling, and the lead should be big, but it is still the opener. They will be pulling starters in a third quarter blowout, which means Buffalo will get points on the board. The score of 45-20 is not out of the question, and even a 40-14 final will get you both bets. This is another great bet to get in on the money-making early in the season.