Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska-Rutgers Opens As a Pick’em

October 02, 2022

Six days out from football in New Jersey under Friday night lights, there was nothing to separate Nebraska and Rutgers…at least on the opening line. Circa Sports opened the game as a pick’em on Sunday afternoon with a total of 51.5 points.

Nebraska (2-3, 1-1) is coming off its first conference win in almost exactly a year, beating Indiana 35-21 in Lincoln. Rutgers (3-2, 0-2) has dropped back-to-back games to open Big Ten play after starting 3-0. The Scarlet Knights lost 49-10 at Ohio State on Saturday.

The Huskers’ win over Indiana was also their first win against the spread in 2022, per Team Rankings. The Scarlet Knights are 2-2-1 against the spread this season.

ESPN’s updated FPI rankings have the Huskers ranked 74th, up three spots from last week, with a rating of -1.4. Rutgers dropped five spots to 84th with a -3.5 rating. Using those numbers, and factoring in a 2.5-point home-field advantage, FPI would favor the Scarlet Knights by 0.4 points.

The biggest advantage on Friday should belong to Nebraska’s offense. The Huskers enter the game averaging .372 points per play, which only ranks 73rd nationally but Rutgers’ defense ranks 83rd at .439 points per play allowed. Nebraska’s defense has allowed .446 points per play (85th) through five games, and will square off against a Rutgers offense that ranks 121st nationally at .223 points per play.

Minus a 66-7 win over Wagner in Week 2, the Scarlet Knights have scored 22 points or fewer in each of four games against FBS opponents this season. Nebraska has topped 28 points in four of five games, the exception a 49-14 loss to Oklahoma.

Nebraska and Rutgers kick off at 6 p.m. Central on Friday. The game is being televised by FS1.

On to the rest of the Big Ten.

Purdue at Maryland -3: The Boilermakers (3-2, 1-1) were the first team to make Minnesota look mortal in 2022, beating the Gophers with defense in a 20-10 win. Maryland (4-1, 1-1) got back on the winning track with a 27-13 win over Michigan State, a week after the Terrapins lost by a touchdown to top-five Michigan.

Michigan at Indiana +21: The Wolverines (5-0, 2-0) handled Iowa relatively easily in a 27-14 win that wasn’t as close as it looked. The Hoosiers (3-2, 1-1) will try to stop a two-game skid.

Wisconsin at Northwestern +8 : In perhaps the most shocking Big Ten result last week, the Badgers (2-3, 0-2) were held to 2 yards rushing (in Madison!) in a 34-10 loss to Illinois. Northwestern (1-4, 1-1) still has yet to win this season on U.S. soil, though the field in State College last week was closer to a marsh due to heavy rains. The Wildcats forced five turnovers––and gave three back––in a 17-7 loss to Penn State.

Ohio State at Michigan State +23: The Spartans (2-3, 0-2) have dropped three straight and have only scored 20 points in two Big Ten games so far. Michigan State gets to try and change that against the Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0). Ohio State leads the nation in scoring at 48.8 points per game.

Iowa at Illinois -3: Bret Bielema drubbed the school where he made his coaching name, now he’ll try to do the same to his alma mater. The Illini (4-1, 1-1) have the top scoring defense in the country at 8.4 points per game allowed, Iowa (3-2, 1-1) is top spots behind at 10.0 points per game allowed. The Hawkeyes’ offense, however, is only averaging 16.4 points per game, third-lowest among Power 5 schools.

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