Nebraska vs. Rutgers Predictions & Best Bets – Friday, Oct. 7

Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Casey Thompson (11) passes against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium.
Image Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Big Ten Friday night with a matchup pitting the Nebraska Cornhuskers against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Nebraska got off to a tumultuous start this season. The Huskers lost the season-opener, squeaked past North Dakota, then lost at home to Georgia Southern. That led to head coach Scott Frost losing his job, with Mickey Joseph taking over on an interim basis. After that, Nebraska was thrashed by Oklahoma, but then picked up a much-needed win against Indiana following a bye week.

On the other side, Rutgers has been the doormat of the Big 10 since it joined the conference. They were able to jump out to a 3-0 schedule, but they beat up on a host of subpar opponents. Their last two games have been conference matchups – including one against Ohio State – and they lost by a combined score of 76-20.

Can Nebraska continue to right the ship, or will Rutgers secure a home upset? Let’s dive into our Nebraska vs. Rutgers predictions for this game on Friday, October 7.

Nebraska vs. Rutgers Odds

Nebraska-3 (-110)-145O 48.5 (-110)
@ Rutgers+3 (-110)+125U 48.5 (-110)

Odds via BetFred as of 6 p.m. ET on Oct. 4

Game Info

  • Date: Friday, Oct. 7
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: SHI Stadium (Piscataway, NJ)
  • TV: FS1

Nebraska vs. Rutgers Predictions Trends

  • Nebraska is 2-3 this season (1-3 against the spread).
  • Rutgers is 3-2 this season (1-2-1 against the spread).
  • Nebraska was 5-5-1 against the spread last season.
  • Rutgers was 5-6 against the spread last season.
  • Rutgers is 31-39-1 against the spread in conference games since joining the Big 10.
  • Nebraska is 1-5-1 against the spread in their last seven games as road favorites.
  • Nebraska is 3-9 against the spread in their last 12 games following a win.
  • Rutgers is 0-5-1 against the spread in their last six games as home underdogs.
  • As of Tuesday, DraftKings reports that 69% of the spread bets and 52% of the handle are on Nebraska.
  • For the total, 37% of the bets and 82% of the handle is on the under

Has Mickey Joseph Turned Things Around?

Nebraska has been one of the most disappointing teams in the country this season. They didn’t enter the year as a ranked squad, but they were right on the periphery. However, they opened the year with a bad three-point loss to Northwestern. They also lost an embarrassing game to Georgia Southern (at home) and got walloped by 35 points vs. Oklahoma. Prior to last week, the Husker’s only win came against a non-major school in North Dakota.

Joseph took over before the Oklahoma game, so things obviously didn’t go well in his debut. That said, the team was much improved in their last game vs. the Indiana Hoosiers. They put up 35 points and outgained the Hoosiers by nearly 100 yards, dropping Indiana to just 3-2 for the year.

Despite the disastrous start, Nebraska is still alive in the dismal Big 10 West. No one in the division is better than 1-1, so Nebraska can turn things around.

The big question is can Nebraska do it? They have the talent. They currently rank fourth in the Big 10 in 247’s Composite Talent Index, trailing only Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. All of those teams are currently undefeated, and they all play in the Big 10 East.

The Cornhuskers have a solid ground attack, with Anthony Grant averaging 5.3 yards per carry and 120 yards per game. Quarterback Casey Thompson has also averaged 8.5 adjusted yards per attempt, although turnovers have been an issue. He was efficient in their win last week, racking up 270 yards on just 27 attempts.

The Huskers have a stretch of winnable games coming up, so it’s time for them to put that talent on display.

Can Rutgers Generate Any Offense?

While talent isn’t an issue for Nebraska, it’s definitely a problem for Rutgers. They rank dead-last in the Big 10 in the composite talent index. They have just eight four-star players on their roster, and most of them are either freshmen or sophomores. For comparison, Nebraska currently has 22 four-star recruits and one five-star recruit, so they’re at a serious disadvantage compared to the rest of the Big 10.

The best thing that Rutgers has going for them is their defense. They’ve allowed just 316.5 yards per game against FBS opponents, which is the 17th-best mark in the nation. They were unsurprisingly beat down by Ohio State, but they limited Iowa to just 277 yards of offense. Iowa is far from a juggernaut on that side of the ball, but they ultimately outgained the Hawkeyes by nearly 100 yards.

That said, the offense has been ugly. Quarterback Evan Simon has averaged just 5.4 adjusted yards per attempt, and he has nearly as many interceptions as touchdown passes. Running back Kyle Monangai leads the team with 46 carries, but he’s averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt.

The Scarlet Knights currently rank 98th out of 131 teams in terms of points per game, and that probably overstates the ability of their offense. They piled up 66 points against a non-major in Wagner, and they’ve been at 16 or lower in each of their past three games.

Nebraska’s defense has been shaky this year, but I’m not sure Rutgers is going to be able to exploit them.

Nebraska vs. Rutgers Predictions

I lean towards Nebraska in this matchup given the sheer discrepancy in talent. They say it’s about the “Jimmys and the Joes” not the “Xs and the Os,” and Nebraska has far more Jimmys.

However, the best wager in this contest is probably the under. The sharps have been absolutely teeing off on it, which has caused the number to dip from 51.5 to 48.5.

It’s easy to see why the sharps like the under in this spot. Rutgers has struggled to generate any offense this season, but they have held their own on defense. Nebraska hasn’t been an offensive juggernaut either, so points should be at a premium. I’m happy to pile on.

Pick: Under 48.5 total points | -110 at BetFred Sportsbook