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Louisiana-Minnesota Pick & Prediction: Can a Bad Minnesota Offense Cover on Saturday? (Sept. 30)

The Minnesota Golden Gophers will host the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns one week after suffering a brutal overtime road loss that should never have been in doubt. Every week, I’ll post my top college football picks by Monday and provide an update before each game — you can check out all of my college football Week 5 picks here. Let’s dig into today’s Louisiana-Minnesota odds as we make our predictions and pick the best college football Week 5 bet!

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Louisiana-Minnesota Pick & Betting Prediction | College Football Week 5

Louisiana-Minnesota Betting Odds

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Louisiana: +350 | Minnesota: -465
Louisiana +11.5: -115 | Minnesota -11.5: -105
Over 48.5: -110 | Under 48.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois

Louisiana-Minnesota Pick & Prediction

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will visit the Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend, just one week after Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck threw away a win over lowly Northwestern. The Gophers had already given up 14 fourth-quarter points before a terrible touchback let Northwestern drive downfield and score a game-tying touchdown with just two seconds on the clock. Fleck’s team now draws a surprisingly solid Louisiana team, and it’ll be difficult for this terrible offense to cover the 12.5-point opening spread.

Check out the rest of our college football picks for Week 5! ➚➚

To be clear, Louisiana isn’t good — Minnesota’s offense is just that bad. The Cajuns are 3-1 with a bad road loss to a terrible Old Dominion team. They haven’t played a Power Five team yet but are 12th in yards per play (7.1) and 57th in yards allowed per play (5.3). For context, Minnesota is 72nd in yards per play (5.3) and 65th in yards allowed per play (5.5). Louisiana quarterback Ben Wooldridge ranks 63rd in passing efficiency (139.4) and 70th in yards per pass attempt (7.4). Minnesota’s Athan Kaliakmanis ranks 112th (105.8) and 111th (5.6).

The Gopher offense just doesn’t score enough points to trust them to cover the opening number of 12.5. Under Fleck, the Gophers are a steady 21-18-1 against the spread at home, but they’re winning those games by only 9.2 points — not a wide enough margin to cover the posted number. Fleck’s run-heavy offense that currently ranks 23rd in rushing play percentage (57.7%) should find plenty of success against Louisiana’s defensive front, but that’ll just help them wind the clock, limiting their ability to score the points required to cover the spread.

Further, while Minnesota’s defense was elite last year, it hasn’t looked so elite this year. The Gophers lost multiple defensive backs to the 2023 NFL Draft, namely safety Jordan Howden and cornerback Terell Smith, and scored a -3 on defense in the Action Network’s Transfer Assets and Returning Production (TARP) metric. Coughing up 6.2 yards per play to a Northwestern team that entered Week 4 ranked 110th (4.3) in the metric was embarrassing and could be a sign of things to come for this unit.

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Here comes the asterisk — we bought the Cajuns at +12.5 in the early week column, but you won’t find that number on the market anymore. The best deal on the market is the +11.5 at -115 via FanDuel SportsbookPregame reports that the Cajuns have drawn 67% of the cash on 59% of the tickets, leading the books to tighten the spread. Parker Fleming’s model has the Cajuns as only an 11.9-point dog, while the Fremeau Efficiency Index has them as a 6.2-point dog. I’m not personally buying more shares of Louisiana at 11.5, but if you’re yet to invest, a half-unit wager at the new price is a solid wager.

Louisiana-Minnesota Week 5 Pick: Louisiana +11.5 -115 at FanDuel

OddsShopper College Football Tools & Tips

Looking for more 2023 college football predictions? OddsShopper’s experts are here to break down this college football season — make sure to check out the rest of our college football articles, including our best bets for Week 5. If you still need more picks, our market-based betting model might just be for you — you can even try it out now!

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