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NCAAF Week 14 upset picks: Minnesota will stun Nebraska

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

December 11th, 2020

In the final week of the season for many teams, and with the impact of COVID-19 seemingly inescapable, there is value to be found in underdogs.

Let’s jump into the Upset Watch and help you find the best lines to bet on for this weekend’s action!

Minnesota vs. Nebraska

Sat, December 12 2020, 5:00 PM

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Spread

-10

Moneyline

-380

Total

O 59.5

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Spread

+10

Moneyline

+290

Total

U 59.5

Minnesota has not played a game since its controversial win over Purdue on Nov. 20, and will be missing at least 20 players for Saturday's game. Star wide receiver Rashod Bateman has also opted out for the rest of the season.

Given rust and personnel losses, it seems like Nebraska should not have a lot of trouble with this matchup.

However, Minnesota will have one key player on the field — running back Mohamed Ibrahim.

In just five games this season, Ibrahim has rushed for more than 800 yards and 13 touchdowns for a Minnesota offense that has scored 34 points or more in four of those contests.

That is not good news for a Nebraska defense that has allowed more than 171 yards per game on the ground. And that is after you factor in Purdue's negative rushing total in its matchup with the Huskers last week!

Despite the losses on the Minnesota sideline, the Gophers should be able to establish the run and help protect their depleted defense.

Look for Minnesota to do enough on the ground to keep this one close and have a shot to win it.


Utah vs. #21 Colorado

Sat, December 12 2020, 5:00 PM

Colorado Buffaloes

Spread

-3

Moneyline

-140

Total

O 47.5

Utah Utes

Spread

+3

Moneyline

+120

Total

U 47.5

This game was moved from Friday night to Saturday, and that is a significant change to how it will impact the players and their bodies. With a kickoff around 10 a.m. local time, it is the earliest game Utah has played in nine years and the earliest home game in Colorado's history.

Utah is on a three-game win streak against the Buffaloes and will look to extend that.

COVID-19 has affected Utah’s ability to practice and its defense has struggled because of it. However, the Utes defense is still going to be the best Colorado has faced this season. The Utes have improved since the start of the season, and last week, in their 30-24 win over Oregon State, they held the high-powered Beavers offense to just 10 points in the first three quarters and held it to nearly 70 yards under its rushing average.

That is promising, as they'll face a Colorado team that loves to run and has feasted on meager defenses, for an average of 245 yards on the ground per game. Utah has allowed an average of 105 yards rushing per game and will look to run the ball to keep Colorado off the field. The Buffaloes allowed 268 rushing yards to Arizona last week, more than 100 yards above the Wildcats’ season average.

Utah will ride its run game to the victory.  


Navy vs. Army

Sat, December 12 2020, 8:00 PM

Army Black Knights

Spread

-7

Moneyline

-280

Total

O 37.5

Navy Midshipmen

Spread

+7

Moneyline

+225

Total

U 37.5

The 121st meeting between Army and Navy is anything but ordinary, as it will take place in West Point for the first time in nearly 80 years. In the last two seasons, we have seen the game play out to the records of the teams involved.

Navy is the latest winner, after a dominating, 31-7 victory over the Black Knights.

If form holds, Army should easily win this game, as it is the superior team in record, stats, and talent. However, Army’s record has been inflated by playing three FCS schools.

The forecast also calls for showers, which could mean an even more run-heavy game for these already run-dominant programs.

Navy’s defense has improved over the past few weeks, as well, after it was ravaged by COVID-19 earlier in the season.

Navy must take care of the football against a unit that has scored three defensive touchdowns this season.

The Midshipmen will need fullback Nelson Smith to have a big game, and if they feed him like they did against Memphis, he can lead them to victory. Georgia Southern showed Army can be run on, and Army has not played in three weeks.

Navy will need to play a nearly flawless game, but this should be a low-scoring contest that it will have a chance to win.

This is Navy’s final game of the season, while Army has Air Force and a bowl game still ahead. Look for Navy to throw everything it has at Army.

Also, as a Navy baby — Anchors Aweigh!


Wisconsin vs. #16 Iowa

Sat, December 12 2020, 8:30 PM

Iowa Hawkeyes

Spread

+2.5

Moneyline

+110

Total

O 41.5

Wisconsin Badgers

Spread

-2.5

Moneyline

-130

Total

U 41.5

This line has me scratching my head.

Wisconsin’s season has been a disaster, with numerous games cancelled and COVID-19 issues galore.

Now the Badgers are on a two-game losing streak to ranked opponents who have held them to just 13 combined points. They will be missing several players this weekend because of injuries, including two of their starting wide receivers. Meanwhile, quarterback Graham Mertz has regressed nearly every game since his dominant season opener.

Iowa is riding five straight wins, behind a dominant defense that ranks in the top 20 in both scoring and total offense. The Hawkeyes have scored 35 points or more in four of their last five games, as well, albeit against unranked opposition.

Quarterback Spencer Petras continues to improve and threw three touchdown passes in a win over Illinois last week.

Considering the direction the two quarterbacks are trending, give me the one playing better, with a dominant defense on the other side of the ball.


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