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Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan State Spartans Predictions, Odds, Picks

 
Sept. 25, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI College Football Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

Unbeaten Michigan State has been one of the most surprising stories of the young college football season. The Spartans are 3-0 and riding high after a road win over the Miami-Florida Hurricanes last week. They aren’t a big favorite over the 2-2 Nebraska Cornhuskers though, as this Nebraska defense might be for real. Kick off is set for 7:00 p.m. and will air on FS1 from East Lansing, Michigan.

Score Prediction: Nebraska 24, Michigan State 21

Best Bet: Under 52.5

Best Bet: Nebraska +5

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan State Spartans Predictions

Both these teams have very good defenses if you look at the advanced metrics. Bill Connelly’s SP+ ranks Michigan State as the 19th best defense in the country, and Nebraska is rated the 35th best in the nation. However, the Cornhuskers have looked much better over the last three weeks after a now-puzzling loss to Illinois in their season opener.

That makes the Under the overall best bet in this game, and Nebraska is a solid play too. Everyone dismissed the Cornhuskers after they lost in Week Zero, but they have been extremely competitive over the last three weeks.

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Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Odds

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Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10
  • Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021
  • Venue: Spartan Stadium
  • Location: East Lansing, Michigan
  • TV-Time: FS1 - 7:00 p.m. ET


Nebraska Cornhuskers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 2-2
  • ATS: 3-1
  • O/U: 1-3
  • ATS - Home: 2-0
  • ATS - Away: 1-1

The Cornhuskers won’t have Gabe Ervin Jr. available for this game, but the most important player on this offense is still Adrian Martinez. Nebraska’s dual-threat quarterback leads the team in both passing and rushing, averaging 10.3 YPA through the air and 5.7 YPC on the ground. This offense has some issues with speed at the skill positions, but a healthy Martinez can make things happen.

Nebraska’s defense has been extremely good since the opening loss to Illinois. The Cornhuskers are allowing 4.8 yards per play, and they put the clamps on Spencer Rattler and Oklahoma last week. The secondary is the real deal.

Michigan State Spartans Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-0
  • ATS: 2-0-1
  • O/U: 2-1
  • ATS - Home: 0-0-1
  • ATS - Away: 2-0

Payton Thorne has been lights out this season. Michigan State’s quarterback is completing 62.3% of his passes for 9.4 YPA with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor have both been able to get open against opposing defenses, and Kenneth Walker III is averaging a whopping 8.6 YPC on the ground.

This defense has looked very good, but the Spartans have yet to face a good offense. Their three wins came over listless Northwestern, FCS Youngstown State, and an overrated Miami, and none of those offenses have been good.


The Nebraska Cornhuskers have covered the spread in four of their last five road games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Record: 2-2
  • VI Ranking: 77
  • Points Scored: 118
  • Points Allowed: 63
  • PS/G: 29.5 (69th)
  • PA/G: 15.8 (26th)

Inside the Stats - Michigan State Spartans

  • Record: 3-0
  • VI Ranking: 29
  • Points Scored: 118
  • Points Allowed: 52
  • PS/G: 39.3 (31st)
  • PA/G: 17.3 (36th)

Key Players to Watch

  • NEB: Adrian Martinez - QB (65/99, 1,017 yards, 5 TD)
  • NEB: Samori Toure - WR (16 catches, 333 yards, 2 TD)
  • MSU: Payton Thorne - QB (48/77, 726 yards, 9 TD)
  • MSU: Kenneth Walker III - RB (57 carries, 493 yards, 5 TD)

Injuries

  • NEB: Gabe Ervin, Jr. - RB (Knee-Out)
  • NEB: Oliver Martin - WR (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • NEB: Casey Rogers - DL (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • NEB: Travis Vokolek - TE (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • MSU: Anthony Russo - QB (Leg-Questionable)
  • MSU: Adam Berghorst - DE (Knee-Questionable)
  • MSU: Carson Casteel - LB (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • MSU: Itayvion Brown - LB (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • MSU: Ricky White - WR (Personal-Questionable)
  • MSU: Elijah Collins - RB (Leg-Questionable)

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Conclusion

We should see a lot of good defense in this game. Mel Tucker has imbued his identity within the Michigan State program, and the Blackshirts are back for Nebraska. There shouldn’t be more than a handful of long drives, putting the total amount of points in the 40s.

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Trends

  • Nebraska has covered the spread in four of its last five games.
  • Nebraska has gone UNDER the point total in five of its last six games.
  • Michigan State has won four of its last six games.
  • Michigan State has failed to cover the spread in nine of its last 10 home games.

  
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