Illinois vs Nebraska Odds, Picks and Predictions: Cornhuskers Can't Crack Illini's Defense

The Cornhuskers have a tall task ahead of them when they host the Fighting Illini on Saturday. Yes, Nebraska scored 37 points in its last game but that was against a much less daunting defense in Purdue. Illinois should easily contain the Huskers.

Rohit Ponnaiya - Betting Analyst at
Rohit Ponnaiya • Betting Analyst
Oct 27, 2022 • 08:48 ET • 4 min read
Devon Witherspoon Illinois Fighting Illini College Football NCAA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The No. 17-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini head to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln to face off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday afternoon.

The Illini will look to continue their impressive play this year while the Huskers are aiming for their first winning season since 2016. College football odds opened with the Illini as 6.5-point road favorites for this Big Ten matchup, but that line has since moved past the key number and sits at -7.5.

Here are my best free college football picks and predictions for Illinois vs. Nebraska on October 29.

Illinois vs Nebraska best odds

Illinois vs Nebraska picks and predictions

If you're still figuring out a Halloween costume idea, maybe you should consider dressing up as an Illini defender considering how scary they've been this year. The Illini defense has allowed the fewest yards per play in the country (3.8) and ranks second in SP+ according to ESPN

Nebraska is coming off a 43-37 shootout loss to Purdue but the Cornhuskers have struggled to move the ball when they've faced defenses that aren't mediocre. They mustered just 304 yards and 14 points against Rutgers in Week 5 and also scored 14 points versus Oklahoma two weeks before that. 

Illinois has allowed more than 14 points just once this season, which came against Indiana in Week 2, and despite the Hoosiers scoring 23 points in that contest, they averaged just 4.6 yards per play.

Back the Illini defense on Saturday and fade the Huskers on their team total. 

My best bet: Nebraska team total Under 20.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

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Illinois vs Nebraska spread analysis

When these Big Ten programs faced off in the last two seasons, Illinois cruised to a pair of comfortable wins despite entering as underdogs.

The Illini haven't finished with a winning record in more than a decade but appear well on their way to doing that after reeling off five wins in a row. They allowed just 6.6 points per game over that span and defeated Big Ten heavyweights Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota in consecutive weeks before enjoying a bye last weekend. 

Their dominant defense has obviously been the most important ingredient for their sustained success, but their offense has done a good job of controlling the clock and moving the ball efficiently.

Running back Chase Brown leads the country with 1,059 rushing yards on 5.5 yards per carry while quarterback Tommy DeVito has completed 70.4% of his passes for 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

The Huskers are 3-4 straight up (2-5 against the spread) but there is optimism in Lincoln since they went 19-37 over the previous five years and had just three victories all of last season. They lost on the road to the Boilermakers in their previous game two weeks ago but it was a close contest and they had edged Rutgers and Indiana in the previous two weeks. 

Nonetheless, this is still a below-average roster that ranks just 81st in the FBS in the Fremeau Efficiency Index according to Football Outsiders (Illinois ranks 20th).

Illinois vs Nebraska Over/Under analysis

The total opened at 51.5 but has ticked down to 50.5 and given how dominant the Illini have been on defense, it makes a lot of sense that bettors are playing the Under. 

Nebraska's offense has been better than its defense but it still isn't good enough to get the job done against Illinois. The Huskers' best playmaker is wide receiver Trey Palmer, who is the highest-graded wide receiver in the country according to PFF.

Unfortunately, they don't have any other receiving threats and Palmer will have a tough matchup against Devon Witherspoon, who coincidently happens to be the highest-graded corner. 

The Illini have several other talented players in their secondary, a trio of powerful defensive linemen anchored by mid-season All-American Jer'Zhan Newton and a linebacker crew that is physical and athletic.

They'll bottle up a Huskers ground game led by the struggling Anthony Grant and missing change-of-pace freshman Ajay Allen, who suffered a season-ending injury in September.

Grant was rumbling against mediocre competition earlier in the season but has rushed for 254 yards on 3.4 yards per carry over the last four games and now faces an Illinois team that allows just 2.9 ypc. 

Illinois vs Nebraska betting trend to know

The Under is 5-2 in Illinois' last seven games on the road while also going 5-2 in Nebraska's previous seven contests at home. Find more NCAA betting trends for Illinois vs. Nebraska.

Illinois vs Nebraska game info

Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Date: Saturday, October 29, 2022
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

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Illinois vs Nebraska weather

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