Nebraska @ Northwestern (-3.5): Northwestern Covers
The Cornhuskers travel to Ryan Field to battle it out with Northwestern, who enters as three-and-a-half point favorites at home. Both teams have struggled to get their footing this season, but Nebraska especially so. They’re allowing more than 200 yards a game on the ground AND through the air to go along with a whopping 39.2 points per game. Even though they are accruing well over 400 yards a game,
they are not finishing drives as evidenced by their average of 21.8 points per game on offense.
Northwestern has been a perplexing team, beating two quality teams on the road (Michigan State, Purdue) yet dropping all three of their games at home to Akron, Michigan and Duke. Outside of their seven-point dud against Duke, the Northwestern offense is averaging almost 28 points per game. The defense has been passable, and their average of 133 rushing yards per game should give a Nebraska team that would like to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible some issues.
ESPN’s matchup predictor puts Northwestern’s chances at winning outright at 83.4%, and I like the chances that they cover the spread just as much. Nebraska hasn’t been able to get out of their own way this season, allowing big plays, stalling on critical drives and succumbing to untimely turnovers. Head coach Scott Frost said himself “this could get worse before it gets better”. I’m buying that it gets even worse this week with a tough loss on the road.
Final score prediction: 35-24, Northwestern