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Bowling Green vs. Minnesota: Picks, best bets for Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on Tuesday

The Falcons and Gophers meet in the home of the NFL’s Lions.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 21 Bowling Green at Western Michigan Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bowling Green Falcons take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Quick Lane Bowl on Tuesday, December 26. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET from Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

Bowling Green (7-5, 5-3 MAC) had a rough start to the season, going 1-3 to begin 2023, but turned things around in conference play. The Falcons grabbed wins over Georgia Tech, Buffalo, and Western Michigan to finish above .500 for the first time since 2015. The Falcons were led by quarterback Connor Bazelak, who passed for over 1,500 yards, 11 TDs, and seven INTs, and by running back Terion Stewart, who finished with 762 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.

Minnesota (5-7, 3-6 B1G) is the only team to qualify for a bowl this year without hitting the six-win minimum. The Gophers will be heading into the Quick Lane Bowl without starting quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, who entered the transfer portal following the regular season. Kaliakmanis was the only quarterback on Minnesota’s roster to complete a pass this season. The Gophers went 0-4 to finish the season in a rough stretch of conference play, but grabbed wins over Iowa and Nebraska.

Here’s everything you need to know and a pick for the bowl.

SP+ Rankings

Bowling Green: 84 overall, 86 offense, 66 defense
Minnesota: 70 overall, 105 offense, 38 defense

List of injuries and players opting out of game

Bowling Green

RB Terion Stewart - GTD (leg)
WR Finn Hogan- Questionable (undisclosed)
RB Ta’Ron Keith - Out (transfer portal, 390 rushing yards, 457 receiving yards)
CB Jalen Huskey - Out (transfer portal)
TE Andrew Bench - Out (transfer portal, 4 receptions, 30 yards)
RB Nick Mosley - Out (transfer portal, 56 rushing yards)
QB Hayden Timosciek - Out (transfer portal, 33 yards).

Minnesota

WR Corey Crooms - declared for NFL Draft, but will play
DB Darius Green - Questionable (undisclosed)
LB Maverick Baranowski - Questionable (undisclosed)
RB Zach Evans - Out (transfer portal, 230 yards rushing)
QB Athan Kaliakmanis - Out (transfer portal, 1838 yards, 14 TDs)
QB Drew Viotto - Out (transfer portal)
QB Cole Kramer - Projected starter
RB Darius Taylor - Questionable (undisclosed)
RB Marquese Williams - Out (transfer portal)

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

Bowling Green: 8-4 ATS
Minnesota: 3-9 ATS

Total in 2023

Bowling Green: Over 7-4-1
Minnesota: Over 5-7

Team Pace

Bowling Green: 29.5 seconds per play
Minnesota: 29.4 seconds per play

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Minnesota -3
Total: 39.5
Moneyline: Minnesota -155, Bowling Green +130

Weather

Dome

Our Best Bet for the Quick Lane Bowl

Bowling Green +3

Minnesota’s quarterback — the only QB who completed a pass for the Gophers all season — will not be playing in the Quick Lane Bowl. Right off the bat, Bowling Green gets a major boost. The Falcons were 8-4 against the spread this year and return most of their starters for this bowl game. While this may be a low-scoring, hard-nosed 60 minutes with Minnesota’s defensive strength, I still like Bowling Green to cover.