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Minnesota vs. Middle Tennessee State

SBG Global Pointspread - Mid Tenn -4 O/U 53.5

9/2/10

There's always an interesting dynamic at work anytime a small conference takes on a major traditional conference like the Big 10. The little guy is always going to want to prove he belongs. There's always added motivation to knock off a major conference team with an incentive to get some publicity for your school and conference. We like to look for games where the small conference is an underdog against a major conference team. Those games present us with the most value. Here in week one of the college football season we have Middle Tennessee as a -4 point favorite at most reputable offshore sportsbooks.

Middle Tennessee is a good football team. They won 10 games a year ago capped off with a Bowl game win over Southern Miss. They managed to beat Memphis 31-14 and got by Maryland by a point, 32-31, but were also whacked by Clemson 37-14 and Miss State 27-6, as an example of taking on other conferences.

Minnesota coach Tim Brewster is entering his 4th year. That's the magical year for a coach, when the team finally becomes his own. By year 4, just about all the players are players he is responsible for. You hire a coach to build a program, and expect results by the 4th year. After winning just one game in 2007, Brewster won 7 in 2008 and 6 last year. Anything less than 7 wins would be a failure. The Gophers certainly need to grab wins when they can, and one such spot would be here, taking on a team like Mid Tenn.

Minnesota plays the big boys every year and manages to hold their own. The quality of their wins last year and their play in general, surpassed that of Mid Tenn. The beat Air Force. Purdue and Michigan State and almost knocked off Wisconsin. They played respectably against Cal and even Iowa, albeit in a 12-0 loss.

An average Big 10 team is likely to have better talent than just about every team from the Sun Belt. That's how the food chain works in college football. There's certainly nothing to indicate to us that Middle Tennessee is significantly better than the Gophers. It's a dangerous game for Minnesota, but if anything, it's a game between two dead even teams.

We like Minnesota here. Anything more than a field goal in this game is a bargain. We'll gladly take +4 with the Gophers in a game we see no reason they can't win straight up. Minnesota +4

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