Bowling Green vs. Minnesota odds, props, predictions: Gophers feature fun story, but are shaky favorite in Quick Lane Bowl

His team lost its final four games, to finish 5-7. After the final defeat, 28-14 at home to Wisconsin, he was excited to begin a new life chapter by getting married and moving to Arizona, where he’d find a sales gig.

Three days after that game, however, the starting quarterback slips into the portal, and Minnesota backs into a bowl game because, well, there are too many of them and too few squads with .500 records.

Over the course of five seasons at Minnesota, Cole Kramer threw 14 passes. Fourteen! He played in two games this year, and his only pass attempt was picked off by a guy in the other uniform.

And in a fateful twist, Kramer gets a call from an assistant coach about starting in the Quick Lane Bowl against Bowling Green on Tuesday at Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff is 2 p.m. on ESPN.

Those other plans have been put on a bit of a hold as Kramer prepares to represent the Golden Gophers in the postseason.

“An obvious yes,” he said of his answer to that coach about playing in the game. The opening was created when QB Athan Kaliakmanis bolted.

Kramer quashed a rumor in which he supposedly snagged $30,000 of NIL coin to don the uniform against the Falcons. “As much as I would like that to be true,” he said, “it isn’t.”

We’ve been critical of the glut of bowl games, but Kramer briefly alters our bah-humbug attitude, even as we’ve pegged this as a Wrong Team Favored tilt.

The Gophers were 3-9 against the spread this season, while 7-5 Bowling Green was 8-4 ATS. The Falcons covered their past three games, and five of six. They’ve also won four of their final five games away from home, so they’re road-tested.

For Bowling Green, well-traveled quarterback Connor Bazelak has a couple of tailbacks and splendid receiver Harold Fannin Jr. in his arsenal, and we like the Falcons to excel against a Big Ten foe they know how to beat.

Bowling Green vs. Minnesota odds: Point spread, moneyline, total

Here are the latest college football betting odds for the Falcons vs. Gophers:

Bowling Green betting news: Bazelak and Falcons are poised for Ford Field

Bazelak, a 6-3, 220-pound senior who started his career at Missouri and used Indiana as a steppingstone to Bowling Green, has thrown for 9,079 yards in his career.

He’s been erratic, with 47 career TD passes and 34 interceptions. But in his past five games, Bazelak has thrown it 112 times and only one pass was picked off. Seven went for scores.

Through the air, Bazelak can count on Fannin (39 catches, 14.7-yard average, six touchdowns) and Odieu Hiliare (35, 10.9, 3).

On the ground, Terion Stewart leads the Falcons with 762 yards and eight TDs, while Taron Keith is a menace carrying the ball (66 runs, 5.9-yard average, 4 TDs) and catching it (44, 10.4, 3).

Watch fifth-year Falcons boss Scot Loeffler, the former Michigan quarterback, test the Minnesota linemen and linebackers early and often with Stewart.

Over their past three games, the Gophers’ average yield of 278 rushing yards is the fifth-worst figure in the country. The season took a toll as Minnesota gave up 4.7 yards per run on the campaign but 6.8, third worst in the nation, over that previous trio.

The Gophers allow a middle-of-the-road 7.5 yards per throw to foes, of which Bazelak will take advantage when Stewart and Keith have softened the core of the Minnesota defense.

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Minnesota betting news: Gophers look to close on a high after rough road to end regular season

Sophomore linebacker Cody Lindenberg has appreciated how Kramer handled his backup role and just worked, “he never complained.” So there’s something poetic, if not sentimental, about Kramer getting to start a bowl game.

Then there’s the reality, of a team that hasn’t won since October playing a greenhorn behind center against a squad with a veteran quarterback that has a better offense and far better defense, getting a shot at a Power Five titan.

Not to mention that Bowling Green has already mastered this test against Minnesota. In September 2021, the Falcons were 31-point underdogs when they upset the Gophers, 14-10, on their own soil.

In their rough previous four games, Minnesota allowed 1,821 total yards to opponents while gaining only 1,112 themselves. Foes scored 11 rushing TDs and eight through the air; Minnesota seven and one, respectively.

Opponents have out-rushed the Gophers, 835 yards to 397, in that span.

No wonder Kaliakmanis hit the highway.

Jordan Nubin did romp for 204 yards and two TDs in a victory over Michigan State, but that was Minnesota’s last triumph. In the four defeats, he had 306 yards but only a single touchdown.

Bowling Green gives up 3.5 yards per run, in the top-quarter of the game. If Nubin isn’t effective, Kramer will have a tough time passing to junior Daniel Jackson, who averages nearly 15 yards on his 57 catches, and has scored eight times.

More bowl previews: Military Bowl odds | Pinstripe Bowl odds | Duke’s Mayo Bowl odds

Players opting out of the Quick Lane Bowl

The following players will not be available in the Quick Lane Bowl for Bowling Green because of transferring or opting out:

  • RB Ta’Ron Keith
  • CB Jalen Huskey

One player is unavailable for Minnesota: 

  • QB Athan Kaliakmanis

Bowling Green vs. Minnesota prop picks

This isn’t necessarily an angle on a proposition as much as it is a way to capitalize on backing the underdog when it’s been determined that the wrong team is favored.

We are copying the tack of a highly respected pro bettor, who considers the unit on the underdog, taking the points, as 70 percent of his overall wager. The other 30 percent is on the moneyline; in this case, Bowling Green can be found at to win outright. It’s a safe way to take advantage of a gift opportunity.

Bowling Green vs. Minnesota prediction ATS

The two models we most prize have both called for a win by the Falcons, 26-22 and 34-17. Kramer getting the start for Minnesota fulfills a boyhood dream, but Bowling Green knows how to shatter such fantasies. As 31-point dogs, the Falcons have already upended this foe just a couple of years ago. In the spotlight of a standalone bowl game, they again get the job done.

Pick: Falcons

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