How to Bet Nebraska vs. Illinois Week 0 Odds, Win Total After Scott Frost Investigation
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Scott Frost.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers threw a wrench in the Week 0 plans.
The program’s under heat ahead of its opening-season tilt after The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported head coach Scott Frost is under NCAA investigation.
The Huskers open in the very first game of the college football season on the road against Illinois, where Nebraska has been a 7-point favorite in recent days. Nebraska’s win total prior to the news was 6.5 at most books with varying levels of juice toward the under.
How much the market moves depends on the immediate public reaction and any potential repercussions for Frost and the program. But bettors can start thinking ahead now on how to handle the Huskers market.
Here’s how I’d personally approach Nebraska-related wagers both in the immediate future and down the road.
Grab Illinois +7 in Week 0
It’s remarkably easier to, say, weigh a starting quarterback’s value to the point spread relative to their backup, than it is to assess how a team responds to a variable as volatile as a distraction.
I’d be treating this a bit more cautiously had we been analyzing a contender. Nebraska has one winning season since 2014; win totals say they’d be ecstatic to go surpass the .500 mark this fall.
Still, this is a significant (enough) bombshell, much less just days out from a season-opening road game, against a team that hung 41 on them last season in their own building.
I’m grabbing Illinois at +7. The board’s starting to scatter with +6.5’s and is trending that way after opening Nebraska -9.5.
If it’s all bad news out of Lincoln leading up to game time and the line dips a point or further, there’s potential for a pretty decent middle.
Wait on the Win Total
I’m not sure if Nebraska will boom, bust or anywhere in between out of the gates. Taking the points with Illinois right away is simply a number grab.
But over the long haul, I wouldn’t necessarily be rushing to fade the Cornhuskers, particularly their win total.
A program that’s posted just a 36.3% win percentage over the last four seasons hasn’t been a hot commodity in this market, but let’s face the facts: Nebraska is bound to close as a favorite in its first three games. It’s beaten Illinois in four of the last five, will paste Fordham the following week, and hosts a Buffalo team trending the wrong way thereafter.
It’ll likely lay chalk in both Week 4 and 5, with home games against Purdue and Iowa down the stretch.
Nebraska still has talent on both sides of the ball. Three-year starting quarterback Adrian Martinez closed 2020 on the right note, posting twice as many touchdowns over his final four games last season (8) than he did over the first four (4). The defense, meanwhile, leads the West Division in Transfer Assets and Returning Production (TARP) at 89%.
I can’t envision Nebraska getting much love here, so waiting and getting a 5.5 or 6 at plus money’s a solid haul.