Why the oddsmakers have no “Insight”

As I write, the oddsmakers have the Minnesota Gophers as 9 1/2 point underdogs against Kansas in the Insight Bowl.  If I were a betting man, I would be tempted to take the points.  Why?

Kansas finished on a high note, upsetting Missouri.  I expect they are now working on refining what  got them the invite to the Insight Bowl.  They are also looking at tape of how awful the Gophers were in their last 4 games, including ending on a 55 point blowout by Iowa.

In my opinion, this will give them a false picture.  It will not show them that:

  1. The Gophers were a national leader in turnover margin during the first half of the season.
  2. Wide receiver Eric Decker and QB Adam Weber were healthy the first half of the season.  The Gophers’ collapse over the last 4 games had a lot to do with the injuries to these two.  They are expected to be in good health for the Insight Bowl.
  3. The Gophers are a very young team this season, and the 15 days of practice allowed for the bowl will do much to round off rough edges as well as teach and improve the youngsters.
  4. Part of the reason for the Gophers’ collapse was their lack of depth, which brought the collapse, particularly from the defense trying to overcome the poor performance of the offense without Decker and Weber in top condition.

Of course, Kansas has these things, too.  The Gophers’ wild card is the new offensive line coach/co-Offensive Coordinator they hired after the season ended.  Tim Davis will share offensive coordinator duties with Mike Dunbar.  He will act as running coordinator while Mike coordinates passing and calls the plays.  Davis is expected to overhaul the Gophers’ running game, and has the credentials of a coach who can do it.  Davis was O-line coach for USC when they won two national championships in the early 2000’s.   (Think that took a quality offensive line?)  How much he will be able to change in the short period between the end of the season and the Insight Bowl will be interesting to see, but I (and coach Brew) will expect to see some fire out of the ground game and a new style of running as the OL shifts to the three-point stance.

Adam Weber ran a better offense in 2007, because he had a better O-line in front of him.  This gave him a better running game and protected him from having to face down fire-breathing blitzers and defensive linemen.  Unfortunately, as the calendar rolled over to 2008, he vastly improved his understanding of the offense and it showed in the improvement of TD’s to interception.  However, while he was developing his new skills, the top-rated recruit that was supposed to back him didn’t qualify academically and most of the experience on the OL graduated.  So 2008 has been a tough year for Adam. 

December 31st should be the beginning of the turnaround and Kansas will have a lot bigger handful than they are expecting.


1 Response to “Why the oddsmakers have no “Insight””

  1. 1 Thomas Britton January 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm


    take THAT

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