The 2014 bowl season continues with New Year’s Day action featuring an afternoon match-up (1:00 pm ET) that features two power conference teams that are on the rise on the national scene. The 25th ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4) of the Big-10 and the 16th ranked Missouri Tigers (10-3) of the SEC in the Citrus Bowl from the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL. The Golden Gophers concluded the regular season with a 34-24 loss to their border rival Wisconsin, the Gophers dropped 3 of their final 5 games after starting the year strong with a 6-1 record. The Tigers lost the SEC Championship Game to #1 Alabama 42-13 their last time on the field, prior to that the Tigers reeled off 6 straight wins highlighted by a 34-27 win at Texas A&M and a 21-14 win over Arkansas.
Minnesota is ranked 59th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 29.3 points per game and 103rd among FBS teams in total offense with 356 yards per contest. The Golden Gophers rank 32nd nationally in points allowed with 23.4 per game and 37th in total defense 362.7 YPG allowed.
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Missouri is ranked 74th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 27.4 PPG scored and 101st among FBS teams in total offense with 361.8 YPG. The Tigers rank 24th nationally in points allowed with 21.4 per game and 22nd in total defense 344.4 YPG allowed.
Minnesota vs. Missouri Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Minnesota Golden Gophers +4.5
@ Missouri Tigers -4.5
Over 47.5 (-110)
Under 47.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Minnesota vs Missouri Pick
The Golden Gophers 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games on grass and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record, 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games on grass and 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games. The Under is 4-0 in the Golden Gophers’ last 4 games on grass, 7-3 in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record and 11-5 in their last 16 games overall. The Under is 8-2 in the Tigers’ last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home and 7-3-1 in their last 11 games overall.
The Tigers are playing in their 9th bowl game in 10 seasons and their second straight January bowl, coach Gary Pinkel has ridden a dominant defense to the SEC West title and fa exceeded the pre-season expectations for a team that was picked to finish 4th in its own division.
The Golden Gophers are playing in a January bowl game for the first time in 53 years, and only their 17th bowl game ever, but they have qualified for a bowl in 3 consecutive seasons. They are a run-oriented team on offense under Head Coach Jerry Kill and rely on running back David Cobb, who has rushed for a school-record 1,545 yards and 13 TDs this season. On defense, Minnesota is strong against the pass (30th nationally, 201.5 YPG allowed) with All-Big 10 cornerbacks Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray, with a combined for 5 INTs and 15 pass breakups.
These two teams both very disciplined and rank among the national leaders in turnover margin, Minnesota is tied for 11th with +28 and Missouri is tied for 20th with +8. The Golden Gophers and Tigers both have trouble passing the ball, but Missouri (195 YPG, 95th) is a little better than the Gophers who average only 131.4 YPG (121st nationally) and can utilize a more diverse game plan. The Tigers have played a tougher schedule this season and that should pay off for them here, take Missouri and give the points.