Steamroller NCAAF Pick of the Week: Illinois vs. Nebraska

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 6:34 PM GMT

So far during this College Football season, I have gone 9-3 with bets against the spread.  Two of those three have come with STEAMROLLER plays, like this one for Illinois vs. Nebraska.

This week’s STEAMROLLER play figures to get us back on track, as you will see from the following analysis. We are looking for teams who will outrush their opponents by a 2 to 1 margin or balanced offensive teams, whom I project to gain both 200 yards running and passing. Each of these scenarios has a 75% historical chance to cover the spread, making it a very solid College Football pick.

In this week’s contest between Illinois and Nebraska, I project both events to occur. The best part is that we have not lost any line value in this contest, despite the fact that Nebraska is 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS, covering by a net 28 points, while Illinois is 1-3 ATS failing to the number by 21 points. 

In starting the season 3-1 SU, Illinois has defeated the likes of Youngstown St., W. Kentucky and Texas St., all at home. In their only road contest, they were destroyed at Washington (44-19) as 13 point underdog. Much like the first two years under 3rd year HC Beckman, the Illini have no ground game.  Last season, Illinois was outrushed 238/5.6 to 139/4.1. Despite a weak schedule, the Illini ground game has gotten worse. This year, they are averaging just 108 RYPG. That does not figure to improve against the Nebraska defensive front that is allowing just 116/3.7. Behind RB Abdullah, the Nebraska ground game has exploded this season. In 4 contests against much the level of competition faced by Illinois, Nebraska is outrushing foes 329/7.1 to 116/3.7.  Add a passing attack that is averaging 231/9.0 and you have a prolific offense that is averaging 46 PPG and 560 YPG. Last week against a quality foe in Miami, FL, Nebraska outrushed the Hurricanes 343-76. 

Technicals agree in this spot, reinforcing what is a fundamentally sound play. Under HC Pelini, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are recently 11-6 ATS as home chalk and 9-5 ATS as double digit favorite. Conversely, the Illini, under HC Beckman, are 1-8 ATS as road dog and have allowed an average of 40 PPG in their previous 11 games. 

At a value price at College Football odds, that remains the same as opening week, the fundamental and technicals combine for this easy 4 TD STEAMROLLER victory.

Free College Football Pick: Nebraska -20.5 at Pinnacle Sports

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