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Wisconsin vs Nebraska Odds, Picks: Trust Badgers to Get Off to Fast Start

Wisconsin vs Nebraska Odds, Picks: Trust Badgers to Get Off to Fast Start article feature image

John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen.

Wisconsin vs Nebraska Odds

Saturday, Nov. 19
12 p.m. ET
Wisconsin Odds
-105o / -115u
Nebraska Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Five of the seven Big Ten games in Week 12 feature double-digit spreads and totals under 48.

Big. Ten. Football.

That includes a matchup between Wisconsin and Nebraska, who are playing for the Freedom Trophy in this Saturday noon matchup from Lincoln.

The trophy is less than a decade old, but the Cornhuskers have yet to win it. Nebraska enters this game as two-touchdown home underdogs in a battle of interim coaches.

Wisconsin Badgers

This Thanksgiving, the Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff will offer up their gratitude for Braelon Allen.

Wisconsin's 4-2 when the running back totals 100 or more yards rushing and 0-3 in games he doesn't.

He's the straw that stirs the drink for a Badgers offense that prefers to keep the ball on the ground.

Wisconsin's running the ball at a top-25 rate nationally and has a cap on what it can achieve schematically with Graham Mertz running the show.

Mertz's best games of the season have come against the likes of Northwestern and New Mexico State. Nebraska's porous defense is much closer to those than the Big Ten's cream of the crop, so the junior may skate by this week.

Wisconsin has yet another crop of solid players (PFF's No. 23 center, Joe Tippmann, and a top-50 guard in Tyler Beach) anchoring the offensive line in Madison.

However, there hasn't been the same level of dominance as in years past, and it was evident last week again in a 14-point loss to Iowa.

Wisconsin's defense, meanwhile, was SP+'s top unit entering the season.

It's an unfair spot and low-hanging fruit to punish a team for not living up to its billing, but the Badgers have, for the most part, been a top-25 group.

There was a point earlier in the year when the unit was overvalued, as opponents went on a 4-0 team total over run.

Will Nebraska cash its team total over for the first time in a month

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Nebraska Cornhuskers

If you're gonna be bad, at least be fun. Nebraska had potential before the season. Ten games later, a lot's changed.

The quarterback situation, for starters, is a mess.

Casey Thompson is questionable after missing the past few weeks, and his backup, Chubba Purdy, is out. The Cornhuskers have averaged 4.0 yards per play over the past three games, including a season-low 2.9 last Saturday.

And it gets better!

Their ~No. 3 receiver wanted to be the team's No. 1 after a good game against Northwestern — a game Nebraska lost outright as a double-digit favorite — and then transferred when the coaching staff couldn't fulfill the request.

Trey Palmer, Nebraska's actual WR1, is useless without a good quarterback. He's nabbed just 50 total receiving yards over the past three games after averaging 111.5 over the first seven.

The Cornhuskers' front would find a way to allow a sack against a 3-4 base defense comprised strictly of stationary cones, as only four teams nationally are statistically worse at pass blocking.

Nebraska's been brutal for bettors (3-6-1 against the number), but unders have been profitable lately, going 6-1 over the past seven.

Wisconsin vs Nebraska Matchup Analysis

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

Wisconsin Offense vs. Nebraska Defense
Rush Success79123
Line Yards76104
Pass Success77109
Pass Blocking**2646
Finishing Drives11102
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Nebraska Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense
Rush Success7223
Line Yards3022
Pass Success7148
Pass Blocking**12753
Finishing Drives6946
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling6864
PFF Coverage1694
SP+ Special Teams10278
Seconds per Play29.1 (116)24.7 (32)
Rush Rate59.7% (24)55.0% (59)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Wisconsin vs Nebraska Betting Pick

I think Wisconsin goes up early and never looks back against a hobbled Nebraska team.

Believe it or not, the Badgers have been getting off to fast starts.

Wisconsin's plus-plus over the first two quarters this season. The offense ranks 28th nationally in points per game (17.3), while the defense is top-10 in points allowed (8.4).

Nebraska, meanwhile, owns a -7.9 first-half scoring margin this season.

It's a tailor-made spot for Allen to go nuts and I don't trust any quarterback on Nebraska's depth chart, at less than 100%, to stay within the number — especially with winds in the forecast.

The number's shading toward -13, but some -12.5's are still available.

Also, free Trey Palmer.

Pick: Wisconsin -12.5 (Play to -13)

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