Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Northwestern Wildcats Predictions, Odds, Picks

The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats open their seasons at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland Saturday for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on FOX.

Updated on 02/25/2024
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The Cornhuskers begin their 133rd college football season in the most unlikely of places, facing a conference foe overseas in Dublin. Nebraska has played 1,357 games in school history, but just one game on foreign soil. In 1992, Nebraska played the Coca-Cola Classic in Tokyo, Japan against Kansas State, winning that contest by a 38-24 to lock up a Big Eight title and a trip to the Orange Bowl.

In 1993, Wisconsin and Michigan State tangled, also in Tokyo, and that was the only Big Ten game played outside of the United States, so this is a rare game in Week 0. In addition, this is also the earliest conference game in Big Ten history.

The Cornhuskers weren't very "Nebraska Nice" last season, dragging the Wildcats 56-7 in Lincoln to cover an 11-point spread. We have a similar spread offered by the books or this contest, although one has to believe this will be a little bit closer. The Wildcats are 3-2 SU in the previous five meetings, Northwestern is 3-1-1 ATS in the past five battles, and neither side has won consecutive games in the series since the Huskers rattled off three straight wins from Oct. 20, 2012 to Oct. 18, 2014. Even in that win streak by Nebraska, Northwestern covered two of the outings.

Score Prediction: Nebraska 29, Northwestern 18
Best Bet: Northwestern +12.5 (-110)
Best Bet: Under 50.5 (-110)

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  • Date: Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022
  • Matchup: Big Ten
  • Venue: Aviva Stadium
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
  • Time-TV: ESPN, 12:30 p.m. ET


Head coach Scott Frost has been given a lengthy leash in his previous four seasons. The former Huskers QB led UCF to several winning seasons and big bowl games, but he has been unable to duplicate that success at his alma mater. Patience is wearing thin. The good news for Frost and company is that the team has 46 letterwinners back from last season's squad, including five full-time defensive starters.

Nebraska appeared to be turning a corner last season, playing several good teams tough. In fact, Nebraska lost six straight games to close out the 2021 campaign, but all of those losses were by single digits, and just one of those setbacks was not a one-score game. They lost by seven to both Iowa and Wisconsin to close out the season, and lost by just a field goal against Michigan, a playoff team from a year ago.

Nebraska's last win, you ask? It was a 56-7 shellacking of Northwestern on Oct. 2 in Week 5, the first and only conference victory of the season. When Nebraska was favored by double digits last season, it delivered, going 3-0 SU/ATS.

Texas transfer QB Casey Thompson takes the reins of the offense, and new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple will try to work his magic like he did at Pittsburgh a year ago.

Adetomiwa Adebawore had 8.5 tackles for loss in 2021. (Getty Images)


While Nebraska showed a lot of heart, even in gut-wrenching losses down the stretch last season, Northwestern was the complete opposite. The Wildcats dropped the final six games, similar to the Cornhuskers, but the final three losses were by 28 or more points, and five of the final six setbacks were by 26 or more points. Not good.

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald's squad hit rock bottom, harkening back to the days in the 1980's when Northwestern football stunk to high heaven. Expect the former linebacker to have his team ready for this season opener. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, leading tackler Chris Bergin is gone. Not only was he the team's leading tackler, he led the nation, so that's a big pair of shoes to fill. This team allowed 29.0 PPG last season, and must be better, but will they be?

The Wildcats will lean heavily upon EDGE rusher Adetomiwa Adebawore. He had 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in 2021, and he'll try to introduce himself to Mr. Thompson early and often. But Northwestern's defense still has more questions than answers, and the offense also looks to be a major work in progress. Both teams were 3-9 last season, but Nebraska looks much closer to turning things around than Northwestern.


  • Nebraska is 14-5-2 ATS in the past 21 games on grass.
  • Northwestern is 5-2 ATS in the past seven games in August.
  • Northwestern is 1-5 ATS in the past six conference games.
  • OVER is 5-1 in Nebraska's past six neutral-site games.
  • OVER is 5-2 in Nebraska's past seven conference games.
  • UNDER is 4-1 in Northwestern's past five games on grass.
  • UNDER is 6-2 in Northwestern's past eight games in August.
  • Favorite is 4-1-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
  • Nebraska is 1-3-1 ATS in the past five meetings.