College Football Betting Odds for Buffalo vs. Nebraska: Key in on Underdog for Low Scoring Showdown (Sept. 11)
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo Bulls quarterback Kyle Vantrease.
- Nebraska will host Buffalo in Week 2 college football action following its rout of Fordham.
- The Cornhuskers will try to avoid looking ahead with No. 4 Oklahoma on deck.
- Matt Wispe explains why you should key in on the Bulls in what should be a low-scoring affair.
Buffalo vs. Nebraska Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Both teams enter Saturday’s game following large wins over FCS programs. However, even coming off a victory, there are still major questions surrounding the Nebraska program.
There will be some wind to deal with in this contest, with the expected forecast showing 12-plus MPH winds throughout the game. They’re not crosswinds so it’s less likely to completely throw off special teams. Yet, with these conditions, it increases the likelihood that both teams lean on their respective running games.
Maurice Linguist made a strong impression in his coaching debut against an overmatched Wagner team. After his first game since taking over for Lance Leipold, it would appear he’s keeping the run-heavy game plan intact.
Buffalo racked up 69 points, while attempting just 19 passes against Wagner. While the blowout margin of victory might have inflated the use of the running game, it also appears to be in line with the roster constructed by the previous coaching staff. The Bulls also kept their methodical pace, averaging 26.2 seconds per play.
Although it appears that the offense is going to remain run heavy, the Bulls are led by a capable quarterback Kyle Vantrease, who is starting for his third year. In those three seasons, he’s averaged 16.4 pass attempts per game and just under eight yards per attempt. His 2021 debut couldn’t have gone much better, as he completed 78.9% of his passes and had two touchdown passes.
With Jaret Patterson gone to the NFL, there doesn’t appear to be a clear front runner in the Buffalo backfield. Three ball carriers attempted more than 10 rushes on debut, with each averaging at least five yards per carry.
The offensive line generated 3.5 yards per play, helping the Bulls to an overall offensive success rate of 79 percent. Against stiffer competition, this number will inevitably come back down to reality, but they seem to be a capable unit against far inferior opponents.
Buffalo’s defense allowed just seven points and 97 total yards against Wagner. The Bulls held their foes to a 10.4% success rate and generated havoc on allowed 1.94 yards per play.
In the shortened 2020 season, the strength of the Buffalo defense was stopping the pass with a 37% success rate allowed. Linguist primarily brings experience as a defensive-backs coach, so there’s reason to believe he’ll keep this as a strength.
The Bulls allowed a rushing success rate of 43.6%, which was around the national average. Their defensive line was not the core of this success, as they allowed the ninth-most line yards per rush with 3.39 yards per attempt and only stuffed 12.7% of rushes.
While it was somewhat unlucky to lose its season debut, you could really only go up from Nebraska’s opener against Illinois. Needless to say, the Cornhuskers did just that in a 52-7 win over Fordham.
Between the violation allegations and unimpressive career to date, head coach Scott Frost appears to be on the “hot seat,” so he’ll need to show the Week 0 slip up against Illinois was an anomaly.
Through two games, the Nebraska offense has an overall success rate of 49% and scored 4.3 points per opportunity. The Cornhuskers have averaged 37 points per game, plus 22.2 seconds per play.
Adrian Martinez has protected the ball slightly better through two games with only one turnover, but with 20 career interceptions and 16 career fumbles lost, there’s always a concern with his ability to hold onto the ball. Through two games, the Cornhuskers have a passing success rate of 47.1% and have averaged 8.6 yards per pass attempt.
Samori Toure has been the centerpiece of the receiving options for Nebraska with 11 receptions, including eight against Fordham. The Montana transfer has averaged 15.5 yards per reception.
Martinez is the team’s leading rusher, but the primary backfield responsibilities have been split between Markese Stepp and Gabe Ervin. If the usage rates in the Fordham game are any indication, Stepp may be taking over in the running game. Stepp is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and a touchdown.
The offensive line has helped the running game thus far by generating 3.42 yards per rush, while only allowing a 10.3% stuff rate.
Nebraska has allowed 18.5 points per game. They’ve yielded an overall success rate of 41.6% and generated havoc on 15.2% of plays.
Even including its matchup against Fordham, there appear to be issues for this defense in stopping the run. Fordham averaged 4.8 yards per attempt, with Illinois averaging 3.5 yards per carry.
The problems don’t appear to be along the defensive line, as the Cornhuskers have only allowed 2.51 line yards per attempt and a 19.2% stuff rate. However, with a 45.2% rushing success rate conceded, it’s clear there are problems stopping the run.
Nebraska has allowed a passing success rate of just 37.5%, but with an FCS foe and Art Sitkowski as opponents, that’s likely just a product of matchups.
Buffalo vs. Nebraska Betting Pick
It’s hard to fully judge these two teams based on their small sample, but Buffalo’s debut game, at a minimum, showed Linguist isn’t making an immediate overhaul to the offensive scheme.
Pace of play is going to be the key thing to watch in this game. If Buffalo continues to lean heavily on the running game and move with a slow, efficient offense, this game could turn out very similarly to Nebraska’s Week 0 game against Illinois.
Picks: Buffalo +13.5 (Play to +10) | Total Under 54.5