Nebraska (1-1, 0-1) opened as an 11-point favorite over Buffalo (1-0) ahead of the teams’ matchup at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
College Football 🏈
Week 2 Opening Lines pic.twitter.com/8pvr9ncRtI
— Circa Sports (@CircaSports) September 5, 2021
Per VegasInsider, that line saw some early movement as it climbed to Nebraska -14 within 15 minutes after posting, but was back down to -12 less than 30 minutes later. Circa Sports opened the over/under at 53.5.
Nebraska and Buffalo each easily dispatched FCS opponents in Week 1 with the Huskers rushing for 329 yards in a 52-7 win over Fordham. The Bulls opened the season with a 69-7 win over Wagner, rushing for 309 yards. Wagner played two games in the spring 2021 season, going 0-2, and went 1-11 in 2019.
Still, Buffalo’s win represented a strong debut for new head coach Maurice Linguist. The Bulls program lost its staff, and a number of transfers, at the end of April when Lance Leipold was named head coach at Kansas. Leipold, 37-33 over six seasons, had taken Buffalo to the MAC championship game twice in his final three seasons.
“The team coming in here next week, we’ve watched them on tape already,” Scott Frost said after Saturday’s win. “It’s a really good team. They were in the MAC Championship last year. They’ve lost some pieces and added some really good pieces. We gotta have a really good week of preparation and looking forward to getting back on the field with the guys.”
Under Frost, the Huskers are 7-12 against the spread as a favorite and 5-8 as a home favorite.
Nebraska and Buffalo kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be carried by the Big Ten Network.
Some other observations from the opening lines:
–Iowa State opened as a 5-point favorite over Iowa on Sept. 2 for what looks like a massive Week 2 matchup. That was before the seventh-ranked Cyclones raised eyebrows with a 16-10 win over FCS Northern Iowa while No. 18 Iowa stomped No. 19 Indiana 34-6 in Iowa City. On Sunday, Iowa State was down to -4 for Saturday’s game in Ames.
–Keep an eye on the Ohio State-Oregon line, it has the potential to be a wild ride this week. The Buckeyes were pushed by Minnesota in the season-opener, but used an explosive second half to pull out a 14-point win. That was a push, or close to it, at most places, and the result felt pretty true both ways. The Ducks also got a test in Week 1, scoring with 2:57 left for a 31-24 win over Fresno State. DraftKings opened Ohio State as an 11.5-point favorite on Sept. 2 but the Buckeyes were listed at -14 on Sunday. Oregon’s star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux left the Ducks’ opener with an injury.
–Wisconsin dropped its home opener 16-10 to Penn State, but don’t bury the Badgers based on that result (or lionize the Lions for that matter). Wisconsin went 1-for-4 on red-zone trips. The defense looked as good as advertised, the offense might be a work in progress, which was probably the book on the Badgers entering the season anyway. A six-point loss to a good team, even at home, when you’re -3 in turnovers isn’t a sign of trouble unless things like turnovers and not finishing drives persist. Wisconsin opened as a 24-point favorite over Eastern Michigan, which beat FCS-member St. Francis (Pa.) 35-15 on Friday.
–Michigan took care of business on Saturday against what should be a pretty good Western Michigan team, winning 47-14. The Wolverines were listed at -5 as they prepare to host Washington. The Huskies became just the fifth ranked FBS team to lose to an FCS opponent on Saturday. Montana beat Washington 13-7.
–Speaking of good MAC teams, the best one (most likely), Ball State, travels to Penn State this weekend. The Nittany Lions opened at -22.
–The rest of the opening lines involving Big Ten teams: Illinois (+11) at Virginia, Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota (-20), Rutgers (-1) at Syracuse and Purdue (-32) at UConn. No line, at least at Circa, for Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan State, all of which face FCS opponents in Week 2.
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.