Nebraska 2019 Betting Guide: Is the Market a Year Early?
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Adrian Martinez
Nebraska 2019 Betting Odds
- National Title: 50-1
- To Win Big Ten: 10-1
- To Make the Playoff: 12-1
- Win Total: 8.5
Nebraska Schedule, Projected Spreads
What to Like about Nebraska
Answer to what to like about Nebraska will always be Scott Frost, who took Central Florida from 0-12 to 13-0 in just two years.
Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has been with Frost since their days as assistants at Oregon, so the coaching staff remains in tact.
Year 0 is about establishing a culture and developing a roster with the right identity. Now-sophomore Adrian Martinez fit the mold in 2018 on the ground and through the air.
I wonder who Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez models his game after pic.twitter.com/EzJVJJTSIJ
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) March 13, 2019
Nebraska returns both lineman at the tackle positions which is paramount against a schedule that includes some monster defensive lines.
The offensive numbers in 2017 were woeful at best with a success rate of 100th and rush explosiveness at 125th. In 2018, those numbers jumped to 16th and 19th, respectively.
The Cornhuskers have had consecutive 4-8 season, but a Second-Order win total of +2.7 projects a boost in the win column. This team is going to be much better, but the market has already priced them that way with a win total of 8.5 and 12-1 odds to make the College Football Playoff.
What Could Cause Problems
As stated above, Year 0 is about establishing a landscape for a new-look roster. Frost should be all about building depth this year, especially on defense, where there is almost none.
The secondary takes the deepest hit, returning just two safeties with a combined 21.5 tackles last season. Dicaprio Bootle returns 15 pass breakups at cornerback, but a thin linebacker unit may leave the middle wide open for passing attacks.
Defensive coordinator Chinander’s 3-4 scheme will take chances, but a sack rate of 112th must improve while avoiding injury. The Huskers gave up at least 5.5 yards per play in every Big Ten game but one last season.
Injury will be the key to 2019, as Adrian Martinez was limited in a blowout loss at Michigan last season after getting injured in the opener. He’s backed up by Noah Vedral, a former 3-star dual threat who played for UCF under Frost but didn’t see the field much.
Nebraska has released video of the play where QB Adrian Martinez was injured during the loss to Colorado.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) September 13, 2018
Nebraska will be heavy favorites in three September games, and having 5 of their 9 conference games in Lincoln does give the Cornhuskers an advantage.
Six games on the schedule are projected to have a point spread less than a field goal, so there’s potential for variance.
Two bye weeks after mid-October will help with injuries, but a tricky road spot before Thanksgiving awaits Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have division rivals Wisconsin and Iowa in November, with travel to Maryland in between.
Bets to Watch
While I am bullish on the Nebraska program, the correct investment term for 2019 is “Stag” — a short-term speculator who attempts to profit from a short-term price move. While I have invested in Nebraska Under 8.5 wins, I fully expect to invest in the under again if a 9 to hits the market before the season starts.
As mentioned above, half the schedule is a coin flip and suggests no value in a Big Ten conference price. As a long term investor, we can only hope Nebraska goes under their win total once again setting up favorable Big Ten, Playoff and National Title investments in 2020.