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College Football Pick with Betting Analysis
Nebraska will host Southern Mississippi this Saturday at 3:30 pm est. in a game that has become one of the more heavily bet games for the first Saturday of college football action. Nebraska opened up as a -17.5 point favorite and the line has moved to -20 with an avalanche of Nebraska money flooding through the windows in early betting action. The total is 52.5, odds courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Southern Miss is in off a spectacular 12-2 campaign which was capped off with a Hawaii Bowl win over Nevada. They lost at Marshall and at UAB. They lose half of their starters including 4 year starting QB Austin Davis, returning 6 on offense and just 4 on defense. They also replace head coach Larry Fedora, who left for North Carolina, with Ellis Johnson, who's last job was as defensive coordinator at South Carolina.
Nebraska on the other hand is in good shape. Bo Pelini enters his 5th season and returns 7 starters on each side of the ball including QB Taylor Martinez. They were 9-4 a year ago and many predict Nebraska to improve on that mark and contend for the Big 10 title.
There's an obvious class difference here. The Southern Miss schedule is weak. They rarely see talent like they'll face this week against Nebraska. In 2010 they played South Carolina and were crushed 41-13. There are a handful of games against big time schools over the last several years, and to their credit, Southern Miss has played some of those programs close, such as a 27-13 loss at Auburn in 2008.
The key to this game figures to be the Nebraska defense. If the Cornhuskers have improved on the defensive side of the ball, it should be a relatively easy win for them. If it's the same defense as last season, Southern Miss could sneak under the number here. The Huskers gave up some points last year and not only to power house offenses. Fresno scored 29, Washington 38, Wisky 48, Ohio State 27, Northwestern 28, Michigan 45 and South Carolina 30.
Southern Miss averaged about 37 points per game the past two seasons and have posted above average numbers offensively for several years running. If they are able to maintain those offensive numbers under Ellis Johnson and his staff, the big number could become attractive to us here. Perhaps even more appetizing here is the total. Both teams score points in bunches. While we aren't sure about Southern Miss, we are sure about Nebraska. Their offense was contained by a few of the big time defenses they played last year, such as Penn State and Michigan State, but those were among the best defensive units in the land. Southern Miss certainly doesn't compare. When Nebraska played average defenses, they put up big numbers, such as 42 on Fresno and 51 on Washington. They may be able to reach this total, 52.5, on their own.
Nothing strong here at this point, however we'll make a small recommendation on this game to go over 52.5. We'll also watch the line here, and if it keeps moving and goes to +21 or higher, we'll start to get interested in the Southern Miss side. Southern Miss +21 or more and Over 52.5
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