Minnesota at Nebraska Odds
The 14th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers host the Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday afternoon in Big Ten Legends division action. Oddsmakers have listed Nebraska as an 18.5-point favorite and have set the total at 53.5.
Why Nebraska Covers
The Cornhuskers are rolling. They have won four in a row to improve to 5-1 in Big Ten Conference play. Their lone conference loss came on the road against undefeated Ohio State.
Nebraska has been one tough cookie at home where it is 6-0 this season. These victories have come by an average of 25.0. points. The Huskers are 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven home games.
Minnesota has been a poor investment on the road where it is just 1-3 against the spread this season. It has also been a poor investment in Big Ten play. It is 2-4 straight up and against the spread in conference action this season. Three of these losses were by at least 18 points and two came by at least 22 points.
Minnesota’s run defense, which ranks 76th in the country with 168.0 yards allowed per game, will have a tough time slowing down Nebraska’s seventh-ranked rushing attack that averages 269.3 yards per game.
The Huskers are averaging a healthy 5.8 yards per carry on the season. This figure is significant because Minnesota is on a 16-33 against the spread slide versus good rushing teams that average 4.75 yards or more per carry.
Minnesota’s offense doesn’t figure to pose much of a threat to the Nebraska stop unit. The Golden Gophers, who rank 98th in the country in total offense with 353.7 yards per game, will be up against a defense that ranks 29th in total defense with 344.3 yards allowed per contest.
The then-13th-ranked Cornhuskers won last season’s meeting 41-14 at Minnesota behind 346 yards on the ground to cover the 24-point spread. It was Nebraska’s 15th straight victory in the series.
This is the first matchup this season against a Top 25 opponent for Minnesota, which has dropped 23 of its last 24 against ranked foes.
Why Minnesota Covers
Any time Nebraska is rattling off wins it tends to be overvalued by oddsmakers. Consider that it is just 2-10 against the spread in home games following two or more consecutive wins while under the direction of coach Bo Pelini. It sinks to 0-6 against the spread under Pelini if it is at home and coming off three or more consecutive victories. It has won these six but only by an average score of 22.0. to 16.4.
In addition, home favorites that check into a game with wins in four or five of their last six contests, provided they have a winning percentage of .800 or better and are matched up against a team that has won 51.0-60.0 percent of its games, are only 3-14 against the spread the last five seasons.
Late in the season has been the time to back the Golden Gophers. They are an awesome 10-1 against the number in their last 11 November contests. It is also significant that they enter this games off a win and cover against Illinois. That’s because they are on a 6-2 against the spread run in games directly following a game in which they covered the spread.