A Big Ten rivalry pits the visiting Northwestern Wildcats against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday. History suggests this game will be decided by seven points or less. But the college football lines disagree and have pinned Nebraska as a bigger winner than that.
|Game: Northwestern Wildcats (2-2) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-3)
Location: Tom Osborne Field at Memorial Stadium. Date: Saturday
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Television: Big Ten Network
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|Northwestern||+11½ -110||+350||51½ -110o||20 -110o/-120u|
|Nebraska||-11½ -110||-450||51½ -110u||31½ -120o/-110u|
Northwestern and Nebraska have a history that goes back to 1902, but the two have only faced each other 14 times. It wasn’t until 2011 when the two schools would compete against each other annually and they’ve split these last 10 meetings. The Wildcats do hold a 4-3 edge when both schools are unranked, as they are now.
Next game: vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The Wildcats beat up on Ohio 35-6 to cover a 14-point spread with no issues. Northwestern threw for just 88 yards but gashed the Bobcats with 373 rushing yards. The Wildcats also held Ohio off the scoreboard until the fourth period. It was the first time this season Northwestern covered on the college football spreads.
— Northwestern Football (@NUFBFamily) September 26, 2021
Quarterback Andrew Marty (upper body) is still on the mend and Ryan Hilinski, who started against Ohio, has been named the starter for Saturday.
Next game: vs Michigan
Nebraska lost in overtime against Michigan State 23-20 but did cover its 3½-point spread as an underdog. The Cornhuskers are now 4-1 against the spread (ATS) despite their losing record. The defense showed up for Nebraska last week and limited MSU to just 254 total yards and 12 first downs.
Highly touted freshman tight end Thomas Fidone (knee) is still hurt but should be close to returning.
Betting on the Game
Nebraska stumbled out of the gates against Illinois, losing the game as a 6½-point favorite. But since then, the Cornhuskers have covered four straight, including a 42-point spread against Fordham. Now, they look to beat and cover against Northwestern, which they usually struggle against.
The Cornhuskers have only covered on three of their last 10 games against the Wildcats and all three were away from the Memorial Stadium. Still, online gambling support has been somewhat even here with a slight lean on the visitors, though the line has stayed the same.
Northwestern may finally be figuring things out after a slow start. But, generally, this program gets outplayed by Nebraska. Were it not for turnovers on the other end, Northwestern would see a bigger disparity in overall scoring.
As it stands, the two teams have played each other close going by scoring average. Nebraska edges Northwestern 25.2 to 23.6 per game and no team has won by more than 11 points since 2014. Eight of their last 10 games have been decided by seven points or less.
All the pressure will be on Nebraska here. This proud program will not tolerate any more losing and, at home as 11½-point favorites, the Cornhuskers will need to start fast. They are 4-2 ATS in their last six home games.
Nebraska will have to keep its turnovers to a minimum. Northwestern’s defense is “alright,” but the Cornhuskers have averaged a lost fumble in every game and they are averaging nearly two fumbles a game. Turnovers can cost the Cornhuskers points or gift them to Northwestern.
Given the history and Nebraska’s chronic “fumble-itis”, it would be easier to bet online for the underdogs.
Nebraska’s line opened at -425 and has since been bet down to -450. The Wildcats have gone up from +345 to +350. While spread support has been pretty even, there is more support for the home favorites here. Never mind that Northwestern has won the last three meetings.
The Cornhuskers have also been miserable lately, having just won six of its last 19 games, and is only 6-6 at home since 2019. But they have had a tougher schedule and are the more tested team here. Northwestern running all over a helpless Bobcats team doesn’t mean much.
The under set at 51½ has not moved from when it opened with over 90% of the action being on the under. Given that both teams focus on its running games, we can’t expect a shootout here. Northwestern is without its main quarterback and Nebraska is allowing just 17.2 points per game.
The under has cashed in six of their last 10 meetings. The on-and-off Cornhusker offense and solid defense have also led to four of their last five games going under. Northwestern, on the other hand, has seen eight of their last 11 road games go under.