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Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Pick with Analysis

10/1/11

Nebraska makes their Big 10 debut Saturday night in Wisconsin as a 9 point underdog to the Badgers. The game opened Wisconsin -9.5 and has drifted back and forth between -10 and -9. The total is 56.5.

Can't handicap this one with any historic angles. There are none. These two teams haven't played since 1974. But we like the move to the Big 10 for Nebraska. We think it's a good fit. Nothing much to go on for either of these two at this point either. No real tests to date. Nebraska is 4-0 with wins over Tenn Chat, Fresno, Washington and Wyoming and those wins were mostly unimpressive. Wisconsin has blown out UNLV, Oregon State, Northern Illinois and South Dakota, as they were expected to.

No doubt Wisconsin can put points on the board. Last season they hung 83 on Indiana and 70 on Northwestern as well as 48 on Michigan. This year it's been 51, 35, 49 and 59 behind transfer QB Russell Wilson from NC State. But take into account the opposition. A closer look and we still see a potent offense but against the upper class teams it's mid 20's to 30 points per game. (last year)

Nebraska hasn't been as impressive thus far, hence, the 9 point line on this game. But they come in with their own potent offense behind Taylor Martinez and a rushing game that ranks 8th nationally. It's the defense that poses a problem for the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska was down at the half to Fresno. They won the game but lost the stat battle as Fresno had 444 yards and out first downed Nebraska 24/16. They were only up 20-17 on Washington at the half and once again gave up over 400 yards of offense. Then last week, it was just a 14-7 lead at the half over Wyoming.

You have to ask yourself, if they can't stop Washington and Fresno, how are they going to stop Wisconsin? In fact, one handicapping tool we use each week is a score prediction model that you've likely heard us refer to if you have followed us for any length of time. We don't rely on the model early in the season, but we run the games through just the same. The more data we have, the more accurate the model. Well, the model predicts a Wisconsin win in blowout fashion, 42-10!!

We're not playing the game, but will make a small recommendation on Nebraska. More or less a go against the obvious play. The Cornhuskers have been pointing to this game since they joined the Big 10. All eyes will be on this game. You don't want to join a conference and then embarrass yourselves in the first game. This is a proud program that is well coached and comes in with plenty of offense of their own, the speed of which Wisconsin hasn't seen this year. Defense and mistakes are a huge concern, but if Martinez and company are successful on the ground, they can shorten this game and keep it interesting into the 4th quarter where a +10 point spot could be enough for a cover. No official play. If you do play Nebraska, wait for +10 or more

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