NCAAF Pick: Take Nebraska -10 vs. Minnesota this Saturday

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 9:23 PM GMT

Two top-tier Big 10 teams offer intriguing NCAAF odds for this matchup Saturday in Lincoln, where bowl positioning and a potential Big Ten West playoff spot will be at stake.

Here's what will be on the line
At 8-2 SU/6-4 ATS, the Cornhuskers will try to rebound from a humiliating blowout loss at Wisconsin, while the Gophers (7-3 SU/5-5 ATS) will face the first half of rugged regular-season-ending trips to Lincoln and Madison, Wisc. Adding to the drama is that both teams are 4-2 in the Big Ten West, only one game behind the Badgers. The betting college football odds at sportsbooks opened at Nebraska -10.5, before falling to -10 and 56.5 for the total.

 

What's left of the Black Shirts defense?
For the Cornhuskers, the biggest question mark is how the defense will respond after being gashed for an astronomical 581 rushing yards on 53 carries last week by Wisconsin, and allowing Melvin Gordon to establish a new NCAA single-game rushing record with 408 yards. The Badgers rolled up 627 yards in all, while the Cornhuskers offense was limited to only 180 yards and fumbled four times. However, when considering college football odds here, know that the Badgers' 581 rushing yards represent 34 percent of the rushing yards allowed all season by the Cornhuskers defense. In other words, that likely was an anomaly game. Prior to last week, the Black Shirts had been allowing a solid 123.7 rushing yards per game. (That number currently sits at 169.5 per game -- 75th overall.) And even after the debacle in Madison, the Nebraska defense is allowing 368.5 total yards per game, good for 42nd overall in FBS, and the pass defense is at 29th overall.

On the flip side, the Nebraska offense can be rushing-dominant as well, as its 264.4 rushing yards per game average is 10th-best in the FBS, while the offense sits 33rd overall in yards per game. Ameer Abdullah's 10-game numbers are 1,319 rushing yards and 19 TDs, while Tommy Armstrong has thrown for 1,889 yards.

 

Here's what makes the Gophers go
The strength of the Gophers' offense is a running game that averages 223.7 yards per game -- an apparent edge against the Cornhuskers run defense. The leading rusher is David Cobb with 1,350 yards to go with 11 TDs. QB Mitch Leidner has thrown for 1,310 yards, and a sub-par passing game drags down the offense to the 104th spot overall at 358.4 yards per game. The defense is strong across the board in terms of yards allowed -- 33rd in total yards per game (350.7), 54th in rushing yards per game (152.7) and 27th in passing yards per game (198).      

 

Odds and Ends
Last week, the Gophers (+13) covered in a 31-24 home loss in what was a flat spot for the Buckeyes, who were coming one of the season's pivotal sports picks in an upset of Michigan State. However, Minnesota was outgained 489 to 303 in that game, and walked into a backdoor cover thanks to a late Ohio State turnover deep in its own territory. Also what to keep in mind when making college football picks on this penultimate CFB Saturday is that this is a revenge situation for Nebraska, as they were beaten 34-23 as 10-point road favorites last year in Minneapolis. However, the Cornhuskers have lost three in a row ATS after a 6-1 start. In addition, this is Nebraska's final home game, as they will finish theregular season next Friday at Iowa.

The Cornhuskers are 6-0 SU at home, but only 3-3 ATS. This will be only the fourth road game for the Gophers. They covered in a 30-14 upset win at Michigan, but were SU and ATS losers at TCU and Illinois.

 

The Pick
While Minnesota’s coach Jerry Kill murders the sportsbooks in November (11-3 ATS), For this NCAAF pick where sure Nebraska will step up and play with pride, ending their spread losing streak and move to 23-9 after a game where they committed four or more turnovers.

Free College Football Pick: Nebraska -10 at BookMaker 

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