Akron at Nebraska (-26)
Opening Line: -20.5 Cornhuskers
Opening Total: 55.5
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Fox)
Money is pouring in on Nebraska, the line moving from a -20.5 opener to -26 as of publication (Aug. 30). Nearly 75 percent of bets are in on the Cornhuskers as well. The total has seen little interest with a slight dip from 55.5 to 54.5 in trading.
2017 SU Record: 7-7
2017 ATS Record: 6-6-2
2017 Avg. Line: +5.6
Head coach Terry Bowden is 1-8 SU and 3-6 ATS against Power 5 opponents with the Zips, pulling off a miracle 21-10 win at Pitt in 2014 as 21-point underdogs. Toss that game, and Akron loses by a 38.5-10.9 average score.
Slowing much faster and stronger Power 5 opponents is Bowden’s biggest issue. Akron’s defense has surrendered 524 total yards or more in six of the nine contests for a 484.1 average. The unit returns nine starters from 2017, but experience will likely factor little in this mismatch.
Scoring points will be the primary concern. The Zips have just five first-team regulars back. Sophomore QB Kato Nelson, who took over for the final five games in 2017, is the go-to under center. Young and overmatched, expect few points. Bowden’s offense puts up just 8.4 points per game in five all-time catching 20 points or more on the oddsboard.
Two more sleeps.
— ❄️ Nebraska Football ❄️ (@HuskerFBNation) August 30, 2018
2017 SU Record: 4-8
2017 ATS Record: 4-8
2017 Avg. Line: +3.5
Nebraska enters the Scott Frost era with all eyes on the development of QB Adrian Martinez, the first true freshman to open the season under center in program history. The four-star prospect was the first recruit chased by Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco after taking the job. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound frosh plays like one of Frost’s former projects, Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. Look for Martinez to slot right in and improve a below average Nebraska offense that tallied 25.8 and 26.5 points per game the last two seasons.
Big improvements are expected on defense as well. The Cornhuskers lacked fight and real edge in 2017. It accrued just 14 sacks the entire year. New coordinator Erick Chinander is incredibly aggressive and highlights disrupting the backfield and forcing takeaways. Consider a weaker MAC opponent a good tune-up
Pick: Nebraska -26
When in control of an offense, Frost leads his unit to 48.3 points per game going off an average 27-point point betting favorite. This includes all games with a line of -12 or less while coordinator at Oregon (2013-16) and last season as Central Florida head coach. Frost’s offense has put up 38 points or more on the scoreboard in 26 of 31 under these market conditions. A young Akron offense has little chance to keep up and even stay within four touchdowns. Lay the points.