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Nebraska vs. Northwestern Predictions and Odds

There’s a good chance many American football fans in Ireland don’t know or even care that the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats stunk last season. A new season brings renewed optimism and both programs could use a reset after finishing 3-9 in 2021.

The teams kick off the season Saturday with a Big Ten matchup in Dublin. This figures to be a bigger season in terms of job security for Scott Frost, who remains in Lincoln despite four straight losing seasons and a 15-29 record. One bright spot last season for the Huskers was their 56-7 rout of Northwestern, their only conference victory. Nebraska is a 13-point favorite on the college football betting line to win its opener for the first time in three years.

The Week 0 college football game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats will take place at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 27, 2022 and will be televised on FOX.

Nebraska vs. Northwestern Odds

Nebraska Cornhuskers -13

Northwestern Wildcats +13

Over/Under 49.5

Odds Analysis

Last year the Huskers opened the season with a Big Ten matchup against Illinois losing outright 30-22 as a 6.5-point favorite. It was the first of nine setbacks that came by a single-digit and one of seven decided by a single score so you could say they had some tough luck. They were 3-4 SU and ATS when playing as the favorite and finished the year 6-5-1 ATS overall. Last season’s game with Northwestern was an aberration since the previous six were decided by 11 points or less with three of them decided by a field goal or less. The Wildcats won four of those games going 4-2 ATS.

The 13-point line is the biggest in the series since the Huskers were favored by 17.5 in 2011. Northwestern pulled off the 28-25 upset in that one a year after getting drubbed at home 66-17. The Wildcats had their own issues last season, especially offensively. They were held to 14 points or less in eight of their nine conference games and averaged less than 17 points. They ended the season 3-9 SU and ATS surrendering at least 30 points in eight of their contests.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Close doesn’t count in college football or any other sport. Frost returns likely because the Huskers were close in all their games and have been right there in a majority of games since he took over. Of his 29 losses, 19 have been by a touchdown or less with 11 of those games decided by five points or less. He gets another shot to turn things around or the school didn’t want to buy him out. Either way this is a do-or-die season for the once hot coaching prospect since Big Red hasn’t had a winning season since 2016.

Frost pulled out all the stops dipping into the transfer portal and hiring a new coaching staff. There was an emphasis on offense with Texas transfer QB Casey Thompson named the starter. Thompson started 10 games for the Horns last season throwing a Big 12 high 24 touchdown passes with 2,113 yards. Mark Whipple is the new offensive coordinator after working with Kenny Pickett at Pitt last year. Nebraska held opponents to an average of 22.7 points and should be solid again with several returning starters. With a little more offensive punch the Huskers can turn those close defeats into wins. At least that’s the plan.

Northwestern Wildcats

One thing that will stabilize the offense is having a decent starting quarterback. Three players attempted at least 75 passes last year and the unit was a mess. The trio combined for just over 2,100 yards completing less than 60 percent of its passes with more interceptions than touchdowns leading to some dreadful games. The competition between Ryan Hilinski, Brendan Sullivan and Carl Richardson has been stiff with no starter announced as of yet. They were a young team in 2021 and the hope is that players grow from the experience.

The Wildcats have a group of experienced receivers and 1,000-yard back Evan Hull returns. After last year’s beating the team needed to get bigger and nastier up front on both sides of the ball with Pat Fitzgerald feeling good about transfers he brought in. Fitzgerald has a way of bringing out the best in a team that never gets the recognition it sometimes deserves. Northwestern will be better on both sides of the ball, but I expect Nebraska will be as well.

Nebraska vs. Northwestern Prediction

Both teams should be significantly better after last season’s disaster. I do think the betting public is giving Nebraska too much respect, though. Sure they played some close games, but at some point they need wins. They’ll likely win this one and Northwestern won’t truly be a threat until the QB situation is resolved. But I like the points in a series that has been close in the past.

Our Prediction: Northwestern Wildcats +13 / UNDER 49.5

View today’s college football betting lines.

George Newman
George Newman
Covers NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL for George is also an avid sports bettor and daily fantasy sports fan.

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