The Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) hosts the Purdue Boilermakers (4-3, 2-2) Saturday for a Big Ten showdown at Memorial Stadium. The game airs on ESPN 2 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
This past weekend, Purdue came back down to earth after upsetting the then-No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes in Week 7. The Boilermakers got boat raced 30-13 by the Wisconsin Badgers as 3.5-point home underdogs last week. According to USA TODAY’s Jeff Sagarin, Purdue is 3-4 against the spread (ATS) and 1-6 Over/Under (O/U) with the ninth-toughest schedule.
Nebraska went into its bye last week, losing four of its previous five games. The Cornhuskers’ four losses were one-score games, and the lone win was a 56-7 blowout of the Northwestern Wildcats at home. Nebraska is 4-3-1 ATS and 4-3-1 O/U with the 16th-hardest schedule in the nation (according to Sagarin).
- Opening Line: Nebraska -7
- Current Line: Nebraska -7.5
- Total (Over/Under): 52.5
Purdue-Nebraska opened with the Cornhuskers laying a touchdown, but the consensus line is creeping to 7.5. However, Purdue is getting a slight majority of the cash and bets at the time of publishing, according to Pregame.com.
There’s a similar “reverse line movement” in the total betting market for Purdue-Nebraska. For instance, a slight majority of the cash and bets at publishing is on the Under. But, the total has been steamed up from the 49.5-point opener to the current price.
The Scott Frost era in Nebraska kicked off in 2018. Since then, the Cornhuskers are 15-15 ATS in Big Ten games, 7-8 ATS as a home favorite, and 0-5 ATS following a bye week with a plus-6.2-point spread differential. The Cornhuskers beat the Boilermakers in last season’s meeting 37-27 at Purdue as 1-point underdogs.
Purdue hired head coach Jeff Brohm in 2017. The Boilermakers are 2-6 ATS with a rest disadvantage, 19-18 ATS in conference play, and 7-2 ATS as a road underdog. Purdue is 2-2 straight-up and ATS since hiring Brohm.
The Boilermakers are 10-15 O/U as a road team, and the Cornhuskers are 10-11 O/U at home since 2018. These teams have a combined 28-28-3 O/U in Big Ten games over that span.
Give me Purdue coming off an embarrassing loss at home to at least cover this number. While Nebraska has higher predicted points added (PPA), yards per play, and Havoc rate differentials, Purdue also has a plus-net differential in those metrics.
Furthermore, the Boilermakers are better in high-leverage situations (3rd down and red zone scoring conversion rates) and exploit Nebraska’s subpar pass defense. For instance, Purdue has the fifth-highest non-garbage time pass rate in the nation.
The Boilermakers are throwing against a Nebraska pass defense that ranks 93rd in PPA and 100th in success rate. Also, Purdue WR David Bell is one of the best wideouts in the country who leads the Big Ten in receiving yards and is second in catches. In last year’s Purdue-Nebraska, Bell caught ten balls for 132 yards and one TD.
Moreover, this is a better spot for Purdue than Nebraska. As previously mentioned, the Boilermakers just got whooped at home, and fading the Cornhuskers coming off a bye has been profitable in recent seasons. Finally, this season, Nebraska has played in several one-score games, and there aren’t 7.5 points of separation between these two sides.
PICK: Purdue +7.5 (-105 on DraftKings)
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