Purdue vs. Nebraska Betting Odds, Picks: Back Cornhuskers to Win Big (Saturday, October 30)

Purdue vs. Nebraska Betting Odds, Picks: Back Cornhuskers to Win Big (Saturday, October 30) article feature image
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Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David Bell.

Purdue vs. Nebraska Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Purdue Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+7.5
-113
53.5
-113o / -108u
+240
Nebraska Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-7.5
-108
53.5
-113o / -108u
-315
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are coming off a much-needed bye week after dropping two straight in conference play. They will now kick off their home stretch against Purdue.

The Cornhuskers enter this game with an average point differential of +11.4 after eight games, but sit at just 3-5, with a 0-5 record in one-possession games.

There’s no question that this is the best 3-5 team in the country, but that’s not exactly something to celebrate if you’re a Huskers fan.

Nebraska is very solid overall and if a few bounces went a different way, we may be talking about how coach Scott Frost has finally turned it around at his alma mater.

Meanwhile, Purdue quickly came back down to earth after blowing out Iowa in a big upset two weeks ago. The Boilermakers turned around for a home game against Wisconsin with the hopes of knocking off a second straight Big Ten West opponent, but then, scored just seven offensive points in a lopsided loss.

Overall, Purdue comes into this contest with the better record, but the spread in this one tells a better story of how these teams have performed in total this season.

Is this a spot where Nebraska makes a statement after several frustrating losses, or will it continue to find crazy ways to lose games?


Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue Offense

The difference between this team’s rushing and passing efficiency is stark. It hasn’t been able to get anything going on the ground and has somehow eclipsed three yards per carry just one time — when it averaged 4.5 against maybe the worst defense in college football in UConn.

Last week was the Purdue ground game’s most embarrassing performance for sure, as it totaled -35 yards on 24 carries against Wisconsin. The Badgers dominated this offense overall, as the Boilermakers generated just seven offensive points and 3.3 yards per play.

In the passing game, two quarterbacks have gotten significant playing time: Aidan O’Connell and Jack Plummer.

It’s been O’Connell under center recently and he has been the more efficient of the two based on yards per attempt and PFF grade.

While Purdue’s passing game has ranked high in terms of Success Rate, the explosiveness hasn’t been there very consistently, as evidenced by its two quarterbacks ranking 59th and 87th in yards per attempt.

Wide receiver David Bell has been a big-time weapon, but there isn’t a ton of talent around him.


Purdue Defense

Purdue has definitely played a soft schedule of opposing offenses, but with that in mind, this defense has still played very well this season.

It’s a top-20 unit in terms of Success Rate and has a guy that will likely hear his name called early in the NFL draft in edge defender George Karlaftis.

His sack total doesn’t look very impressive, but Karlaftis has still been a very productive pass rusher. His 25.2% pass rush win rate ranks second among Big Ten edge defenders, per PFF, and so does his pass-rushing grade of 90.3.

Karlaftis and this pass rush have been the driving force behind a unit that ranks third in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

While Purdue has been very solid against the pass, it has shown to be vulnerable against the run in some cases. Wisconsin gashed the Boilermakers for 6.2 yards per carry last week, and the front ranks just 103rd in PFF run-defense grade.

Overall, though, it’s tough to poke holes in how this defense has performed in 2021. We’ll see how it holds up against a tougher opponent in Nebraska.


Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska Offense

In terms of expected points added (EPA) and Success Rate, Nebraska’s offense ranks in the top 20 in both passing and rushing.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez has quietly played well this season despite the 3-5 record and currently ranks 14th in adjusted yards per attempt. He’s also leading the team in rushing yards and is averaging 7.2 yards per carry on 55 attempts after removing sacks, per PFF.

At receiver, Montana transfer Samori Toure has become the team’s top option. He leads the team in targets and receiving yards by a wide margin and has totaled a whopping 328 yards on his 16 targets of 20 or more yards. Among all receivers with at least 15 such targets, Toure’s 96.0 PFF grade on deep shots ranks 10th in the country.

This offense has been very effective in each facet this season, which probably makes the overall record even tougher to swallow for this fanbase.


Nebraska Defense

The Huskers’ defense hasn’t played to the same level as the offense, but has been solid overall. It has done a great job limiting explosive plays, which has led to a ranking of 27th in points allowed per drive.

This Purdue running game hasn’t been able to do anything this season and that trend should continue on Saturday against a Huskers defense that ranks 39th in EPA per carry.

In the back end, Nebraska has also performed well. It doesn’t look great in terms of Success Rate, but it ranks 25th in PFF coverage grade and 34th in yards allowed per attempt.

Cornerback JoJo Domann has locked things down in the slot, as he’s allowed just 4.3 yards per target in coverage and his 80.9 coverage grade ranks 17th among 420 cornerbacks with at least 100 snaps played.

Fellow cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt has been very productive as well, allowing just 5.1 yards per attempt into his coverage on 43 targets.

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Purdue vs. Nebraska Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Purdue and Nebraska match up statistically:

Purdue Offense vs. Nebraska Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 129 87
Line Yards 114 39
Pass Success 16 83
Pass Blocking** 49 53
Big Play 70 24
Havoc 95 67
Finishing Drives 96 17
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Nebraska Offense vs. Purdue Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 8 22
Line Yards 31 36
Pass Success 18 3
Pass Blocking** 124 30
Big Play 107 38
Havoc 58 11
Finishing Drives 69 8
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 24 54
Coverage 74 27
Middle 8 46 61
SP+ Special Teams 101 127
Plays per Minute 62 39
Rush Rate 41.6% (123) 60.8% (29)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Purdue vs. Nebraska Betting Pick

When Purdue has the ball, Nebraska’s defense should have the advantage. Purdue hasn’t been able to run the ball whatsoever and although Nebraska’s run defense hasn’t been the strength of the unit overall, it should still have a significant edge there.

Purdue has been better through the air, but hasn’t shown much explosiveness at all there. Meanwhile, that is an area where Nebraska has thrived due to very solid play from its cornerbacks.

The Boilermakers could struggle to consistently move the ball.

On the other side, Nebraska will likely be the biggest test for this Purdue defense since Week 1. The Huskers have been very effective in both facets on that side of the ball and quarterback Adrian Martinez’s legs could be a big factor here.

Overall, I project this game at -10.4 in favor of the home team. Nebraska is just the stronger team overall. While it’s easy to be scared off by the mistakes this team has made in crucial moments, I still see value on the favorite.

Pick: Nebraska -7.5

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