Nebraska Betting Odds Preview
Maybe the Cornhuskers should have stayed in the Big 12 – not that the Big Ten is any tougher than the Big 12, it's just that Nebraska experienced a whole lot more success in its old home conference than it has in its new league.
In their first season in the Big Ten the 'Huskers went 5-3 in league play; in their second season they got to the conference championship game, only to get totally blown out by Wisconsin; and in their third season, last year, they again went 5-3. This year Nebraska has to replace half a dozen starters on both sides of the ball, and play road games at the top three contenders in the new West Division. Combining those two factors might make for a tough row to hoe for the 'Huskers.
Nebraska Odds to Win Big Ten: 11/2 at Bovada
Nebraska Odds to Win College Football Championship: 75/1 at Bovada
Nebraska Regular Season Win Total: 8 at Bovada
Nebraska Betting Props: Ameer Abdullah to Win Heisman 33/1 at Bovada
Nebraska started 2-0 last year, then led UCLA at home by 18 points. But the 'Huskers allowed the Bruins to roar back and win that game by 20. Three more wins followed, but Nebraska then lost at Minnesota. The 'Huskers later beat Northwestern on a Hail Mary, and won at Michigan, but lost at home to Michigan State. They then won at Penn State but lost at home to Iowa. Big Red then ended the season by pulling a minor upset, beating Georgia in the Gator Bowl, to finish 9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS.
Nebraska is now 58-24 SU and 41-39 ATS in six seasons under head coach Bo Pelini, 17-8 SU but 11-13 ATS in three seasons of Big Ten play.
This year Nebraska returns just 10 starters, tied for the fewest in the conference. Just five starters are back on offense, just one along the offensive line, although they do return 1,700-yard rusher Ameer Abdullah. And five starters return on defense, including four on what should be a very good front seven. But that unit took an early hit when LB Michael Rose tore his knee in August, sidelining him for the season.
This year's schedule calls for an early road game at Fresno State, a home game with Miami, and conference road games against Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa. But the 'Huskers also get four very winnable Big Ten home games, and miss Ohio State and Michigan.
'Husker Nation is getting tired of these four-loss seasons (six in a row) and the lack of championships – the last came in 1999. Something needs to be done, and quick. Unfortunately, with such a tough Big Ten road slate, it may not happen this year.
Big Ten Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Ohio State 10/11
Michigan State 15/4
In their second season in the Big Ten last year the Nebraska Cornhuskers reached the conference championship game. Unfortunately, they got absolutely embarrassed by runaway train Wisconsin, allowing over 500 yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns. Big Red is 12-5 in Big Ten play so far, and it's the preseason favorite to win the Legends Division again. But will the Nebraska defense be any better?
The Huskers began last year with 14 returning starters from a team that went 9-4 in 2011. Nebraska then started 3-1 through its non-conference season, losing only at UCLA. NU then began Big Ten play by rallying to beat Wisconsin, but gave up an early lead and got punked by Ohio State 63-38. Nebraska then scored twice in the last eight minutes to beat Northwestern, out-classed Michigan, got fortunate to beat Michigan State, came from two touchdowns down to defeat Penn State, and took care of business against Minnesota and Iowa to clinch the division title. But the Huskers, as field-goal favorites, then got shucked by the Badgers in the Big Ten championship game 70-31, and gave up the last 22 points of the game in losing to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl 45-31. So the Blackshirts got blitzed for 115 points over their last two games.
Nebraska finished 10-4 overall, 7-2 in conference play, and went 7-7 ATS even though they posted a -12 turnover margin. This year the Huskers return eight starters on an offense that averaged 461 YPG and 35 PPG last year, including senior QB Taylor Martinez, 1,110-yard rusher Ameer Abdullah, last year's top three receivers, and three of the big uglies up front. But only four starters return on a defense that allowed almost 28 PPG last season, including just one of the front seven. So it will be interesting to see what happens on that side of the ball for this team this season.
NU open this year's slate with five straight home games, the toughest of which will be a rematch with UCLA. The Huskers begin conference play at home against Illinois, visit Purdue and Minnesota, host Northwestern, visit Michigan, host Michigan State, visit Penn State, and end at home with Iowa. They also miss Ohio State and Wisconsin, at least until a possible conference championship game matchup. It would seem Nebraska has a chance to be 7-0 heading into the stretch of games with the Wildcats, Wolverines, and Spartans in November, and could be favored in as many as 10 games this season.
Big Ten Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 5
Ohio State -115
Michigan State +800