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2) Key Releases
Outside of Ohio State, each of these teams has won all of their Big 10 games. Penn State hasn't really had any trouble scoring either, except for that Ohio State game. Things haven't been as easy for Nebraska as they've had to win three really close games and held Michigan to nine points mainly because Denard Robinson got hurt. They beat Wisconsin by three points, Northwestern by one and most recently had an improbable comeback at Michigan State to win 28-24. The Cornhuskers control their destiny to the Big 10 Championship game and this is their toughest remaining game. Expect everyone to be pumped in Lincoln.
Nebraska is currently a -7 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook and Betonline with 62% of the early action at the worlds largest sportsbook, sportsbook.ag, on the Nittany Lions.
It was an even battle last year that Nebraska won 17-14 in Happy Valley. The Cornhuskers jumped out to a 17-0 lead after two rushing TDs, but then gave up two rushing TDs to the Nittany Lions. That game hit the under and ended in a push with Nebraska coming in as three-point favorites. With each offense and quarterback improved, there should be more points in this game.
Senior QB Matthew McGloin has been a big reason why Penn State continues to win games. He currently has 18 TDs and only three INTs on the year. Compare that with eight TDs and five INTs of last season. He also has almost 1,000 more yards than 2011 and completing eight percent more of his passes. McGloin's numbers looked good against Ohio State, but that's because they started moving the ball with only 10 minutes left in the game when the game was already out of reach. PSU only had three offensive points in the first three quarters. Scoring should be a little easier against the Cornhuskers who haven't been able to stop many teams completely. Allen Robinson continues to be McGloin's top target as he has 57 grabs, 689 yards and eight TDs on the year. An even bigger part of their offense is Zach Zwinak who took the starting gig in Week 4 and didn't look back. Zwinak has been able to move the ball effectively with three 100-yard games in six starts. He'll need a strong performance for the Nittany Lions to have a chance.
The Penn State defense has been solid for the most part, but was unable to stop Braxton Miller and company. Taylor Martinez is having a great season and is a tough task for anyone and could match Miller's success against the Nittany Lions. While he wasn't able to get it done through the air with three interceptions against Michigan State, he had a season high 205 rushing yards and two TDs against one of the best rush defenses in the country. He came to play and he'll need to do the same this week. His passing numbers are better this year, but a lot of his damage still comes on the ground where he has eight rushing TDs and 666 yards. Ameer Abdullah also deserves a mention in the backfield as he has filled in well for an injured Rex Burkhead. Abdullah has 826 yards, eight TDs and averages 5.5 yards per carry. Kenny Bell is the main threat to look for in the passing game. His numbers double that of any other receiver for the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska is 5-1 ATS in their last five home games while Penn State is 4-0 ATS in their last four road games. Going further, the Cornhuskers are 20-4-1 ATS in their last 25 home games vs. a team with a winning record. The Nittany Lions are surprising people this year and it shows as they are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall. The under has hit five times in Nebraska's last seven home games.
We see no reason not to take the +7 here. Our model shows a 1 point Nebraska win when using season to date stats. If we filter those results and only use data from the last 5 or 7 games, the model predicts a straight up Penn State win. Our tried and true traditional methods also come up Penn State and we have a double revenge motive to boot. Penn State +7
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