College Football Odds, Picks for Nebraska vs. Rutgers: Friday Night College Football Betting Guide
Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images. Pictured: Casey Thompson (Nebraska)
Nebraska vs. Rutgers Odds
Raise your hand if you thought Rutgers would have a better record than Nebraska at the start of October.
After a disappointing loss at home to Georgia Southern, the Cornhuskers finally decided to move on from the Prodigal Son, Scott Frost.
Another former Nebraska quarterback Mickey Joseph was elevated to interim head coach. He joined the staff this year after five seasons as LSU’s wide receivers coach.
The Huskers got their first win under Joseph with a 35-21 victory over Indiana last week.
After a 3-0 start, Rutgers has dropped two conference games and looks to get back on track against a reeling Huskers team. Greg Schiano is in the third year of his second stint in Piscataway, and just like he did the first time around, he has quickly changed the culture at the State University of New Jersey.
Rutgers has never beaten the Cornhuskers before. In five previous meetings, Nebraska is 5-0, including 4-0 in the last eight years. But this is the smallest the spread there has ever been in this series, and probably the Scarlet Knights' best chance to pull off the upset.
But will they?
For all the issues Nebraska has, its offense has not really been one of them.
Mark Whipple’s unit ranks 22nd in Passing Success Rate and 32nd in Rushing Success Rate this season. The Huskers want to play at a fast pace, sitting in the top 25 in seconds per play.
Texas transfer Casey Thompson ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 1,265 yards passing and has tossed seven touchdowns to four interceptions.
Trey Palmer has become Thompson’s go-to weapon after transferring from LSU. He is averaging nearly 100 yards per game, and is a big play threat on nearly every play.
He also was just added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List on Wednesday.
Trey Palmer, WR, @HuskerFBNation vs. Indiana:
🌽 8 RECs
🌽 157 yards
🌽 1 TDpic.twitter.com/FnQlDCD3bz
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 5, 2022
Unlike what we saw from Whipple at Pitt though, this team has been mostly run-first. Behind an offensive line that sits 13th in Line Yards, Anthony Grant has been terrific. He is averaging 120 yards per game and leads the way for a team with 14 rushing scores on the year.
Now the defense, on the other hand, has been quite an issue. It’s harder to run threw a corn field than it is this Nebraska defense. The Huskers are allowing 200 rushing yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry.
They have been a little better against the pass, only sitting 105th. They rank outside of the top 100 against the pass, the run, at creating Havoc and Finishing Drives.
This defense is bad at everything.
Oh, and despite finally hiring a special teams coach, they still rank 128th in SP+ Special Teams rating.
Speaking of numbers outside the top 100: The Rutgers offense!
The Scarlet Knights sit 103rd in yards per play this season and have averaged just 12 points over the last three games.
In contrast to Nebraska, they play at one of the slowest paces in the country.
In the last three games, Rutgers has been held under 100 yards passing twice. One of those games was against Temple, where the Scarlet Knights somehow managed just 59 yards passing.
Last year’s starter, Noah Vedral, missed the first four games after a preseason injury, and played just four snaps last week.
Gavin Wimsatt started the first three games before getting injured himself. Evan Simon is the likely starter, but honestly, none of the options are good.
Running the ball has gone a little bit better, but Rutgers is still just 80th in Success Rate. The Knights will rotate three different backs, as well as Swiss Army Knife Johnny Langan.
The offensive line has not been great for the Knights, though.
The Rutgers defense has actually been pretty good this year. It has been really good against the pass, ranking 33rd in Success Rate. The Scarlet Knights even held Ohio State to just 161 yards passing last week.
Avery Young and Christian Izien are both really solid safeties on the backend.
Upfront, Rutgers' defense is third in the nation in Line Yards and sits 14th at creating Havoc. Edge rusher Wesley Bailey leads a unit that is third in the Big Ten with 33 tackles for loss.
Nebraska vs. Rutgers Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Nebraska and Rutgers match up statistically:
Nebraska Offense vs. Rutgers Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Rutgers Offense vs. Nebraska Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Seconds per Play
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Nebraska vs. Rutgers Betting Pick
Both of these teams have clear flaws and are likely to finish in the bottom half of their divisions.
That being said, the Nebraska offense is the best unit in this game.
Thompson makes some mistakes, but he also leads the Big Ten with 12 Big Time Throws. Palmer has 19 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns over the last two games, so the good is there with the offense.
The issue has been Thompson holding the ball too long trying to make the big play. He has been sacked 11 times already this season. Luckily, Rutgers has just 10 sacks all season and ranks 56th in pressure grade.
We could also see a big game from Grant here. He is second in the Big Ten with 31 missed tackles forced this year. He had 13 last week against Indiana alone.
Rutgers has been great against the run. But he can make people miss with the best of them, and Ohio State just averaged 7.4 yards per carry against the Knights.
Nebraska’s defense has been horrific all season, but if there was ever an offense capable of being slowed down, it’s Rutgers. The Knights are slow, one dimensional and are literally the least explosive team in the entire country.
The first thing Joseph did when he was named interim coach was take away all the Blackshirts from the defense. He said he wants a clean slate and for them to have to earn them back.
After the Oklahoma game, he fired defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, so clearly improving the defense has been the point of emphasis for the Huskers.
Last week against Indiana, the Huskers were able to shut the Hoosiers out in the second half, and they managed just 61 yards after the break.
If they can continue that momentum and the defense shows up even a little bit, Nebraska should be able to do enough on offense to continue its winning ways against the Scarlet Knights.