Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Odds, Picks, Predictions: Do Huskers Stand a Chance in Madison?
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images
- Wisconsin puts its six-game winning streak on the line in Madison vs. Nebraska.
- The Cornhuskers overhauled their offensive staff while on a bye, while the Badgers have their sights set on a Big Ten championship.
- B.J. Cunningham breaks down the matchup and offers up his selection.
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Wisconsin goes for its seventh straight win in Madison on Saturday when it hosts 3-7 Nebraska.
Nebraska is coming off a bye, but the last time it was on the field, it gave Ohio State a big scare in Lincoln, losing 26-17. Scott Frost’s bunch has lost six one-score games this season and might be the best 3-7 team in the country.
With a huge date against their rivals Iowa next Friday, we’ll see how hard the Cornhuskers continue to play even though they aren’t going to a bowl game.
Wisconsin has a stranglehold on the Big Ten West right now after Purdue lost to Ohio State. If the Badgers win out, they will be going to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship and will have a chance to completely put the College Football Playoff picture into total chaos.
But they have to win on Saturday and beat Minnesota in the final game of the season to get there.
Despite their terrible record, the Cornhuskers offense has been really good this season. The Cornhuskers are gaining 6.3 yards per play and rank 36th in EPA/Play.
The question surrounding the Nebraska offense every single season is if Adrian Martinez can hang onto the ball. He turned the ball over twice against Ohio State, but when he’s not giving it away, he’s been very efficient.
The Cornhuskers are 41st in Passing Success Rate and Martinez is averaging 9.2 yards per pass. However, Nebraska is having issues protecting him — it is 108th in terms of a pass-blocking grade, per PFF — so that is very troubling against a Wisconsin front seven that has the ninth-best pass-rushing grade and is first in the nation in creating Havoc.
The Nebraska rushing attack has also been very efficient, ranking 22nd in Rushing Success Rate, 41st in Offensive Line Yards and 16th in rushing explosiveness.
However, the Huskers will be going up against the best rushing defense in college football by a mile, so I have a hard time seeing how Nebraska is going to move the ball efficiently.
Nebraska’s front seven has been really good this season, especially against the run, which is huge in this matchup, considering Wisconsin is running the ball at an extremely high rate.
Nebraska is 17th in EPA/Rush allowed, 28th in Defensive Line Yards, and most importantly, fifth in rushing explosiveness allowed, which will be key against Wisconsin’s rushing attack. Wisconsin will be forced to consistently beat Nebraska by running the ball for 3-4 yards a play.
The secondary has been pretty solid as well, allowing only 6.5 yards per attempt, which is the 20th-best mark in the country. It also is graded as the 17th-best unit in terms of coverage grade, per PFF. So, it should be able to shut down a struggling Graham Mertz.
🎙 "Nebraska is in business!"
Myles Farmer picks off C.J. Stroud, and the Huskers look to take the lead vs. No. 5 Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/vYog8F2LBj
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 6, 2021
The Wisconsin offense is starting to find its rhythm and Mertz, while he’s bad overall for the season, is starting to play a lot better the past few games.
Against Rutgers and Northwestern, Mertz had his best two passing grades of the season, per PFF, and averaged over 10 yards per attempt. Now, he was only asked to throw it 39 times total over those two games, but he’s been much more effective when the game is not in his hands, which it likely will not be in this game against Nebraska.
Wisconsin has been running the ball 67.3% of the time, which is the fifth-highest rate in the country. Its been pretty effective, ranking 37th in Rushing Success Rate and 31st in Offensive Line Yards, and has the third-best run-blocking grade in the country, per PFF.
Starting running back Chez Mellusi is out for the season, but freshman running back Braelon Allen may actually be better than Mellusi. Allen is averaging 7.1 yards per attempt on over 100 carries this season and has gone over 100 yards rushing in six straight games.
It’s safe to say the Wisconsin rushing attack should be able to move the ball against Nebraska’s front seven.
🎳@BraelonAllen runs over the Northwestern D for his third @BadgerFootball TD of the day. 😱 pic.twitter.com/vxQBnatyIr
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 13, 2021
Wisconsin is now starting to compete with Georgia for the title of the best defense in the country. Nobody has been able to move the ball effectively against the Badgers during their win streak.
Wisconsin is the best run defense in the country. The Badgers are only allowing 2.1 yards per carry and rank first in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, Defensive Line Yards and EPA/Rush allowed.
I have no idea how Nebraska’s offensive line, which is 64th in terms of a run-blocking grade, is going to create running lanes on Wisconsin’s front seven. That means the game will be in Martinez’s hands, which is also a nightmare considering how good the Wisconsin secondary is.
The Badgers have only allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for 5.6 yards per attempt and rank first in Passing Success Rate Allowed. PFF also has them graded as the 12th-best team in terms of coverage, so this will be by far the best defense that Martinez has seen this season.
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Nebraska and Wisconsin match up statistically:
Nebraska Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Wisconsin Offense vs. Nebraska Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||126||24|
|Plays per Minute||30||121|
|Rush Rate||59.1% (37)||67.3% (5)|
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick
I think this is a terrible matchup for the Nebraska offense that hasn’t seen a defense close to as good as Wisconsin’s.
With Allen running the ball and Wisconsin’s offensive line dominating the line of scrimmage, I have a hard time seeing how Nebraska is going to hang with the Badgers for all four quarters.
I have Wisconsin projected at -13.1, so I think there’s some value on the Badgers at -7.5.
Pick: Wisconsin -7.5
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