With plenty of conference openers taking place last week and the season already a third of the way through, college football odds are getting spicier with big games every week. While Michigan heading to Lincoln to take on Nebraska may not be touted as a big matchup, it headlines the Week 5 Big Noon Kickoff on FOX for a reason.
These are two of the biggest brands in college football duking it out with two of the most well-known coaches in the sport, Jim Harbaugh and Matt Rhule, leading each respective program.
Find out where my best bets lie in our college football picks and predictions for Michigan vs. Nebraska on Saturday, September 30.
Michigan vs Nebraska best odds
Michigan vs Nebraska picks and predictions
Michigan has its sights set on another College Football Playoff run, and it looks like the Wolverines may have their most complete offense yet under Jim Harbaugh.
Not only does Michigan boast a mauling offensive line and a pair of future NFL running backs, but the Wolverines have all the ingredients of a potent passing attack, something that has kept them from winning in the past when January rolls around.
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy isn’t just a former Top-50 recruit, as he's also competing to be a first-round pick in a star-studded QB class. This season, McCarthy has undeniably made a leap, but it's his primary receiver who has had the most significant impact.
Roman Wilson, whose receiving yards line is set at 58.5, has elevated his play from deep threat in a run-first offense to true game-changer for offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore’s offense. Having topped 58.5 receiving yards in three of four games this year, the Over is extremely inviting, especially when factoring in how frequently he’s been taking the top off of defenses this season.
In three of four games this year, the Nebraska defense has given up over 58.5 receiving yards to multiple receivers, and seven pass catchers have topped that number against the Cornhuskers in their last three games. Through four games, Wilson is averaging 17.9 yards per catch, and if he keeps that up against Nebraska, four catches will have him clearing the line with ease.
Wilson is averaging 67 yards per game on 3.75 receptions and the Wolverines wideout could see a mismatch on Saturday when he goes up against a leaky pass defense. While the Cornhuskers have been shutting down the ground game this year (23rd in EPA per rush), Nebraska's secondary has been iffy, coming into this matchup just 60th in EPA per pass.
And while Michigan prefers to run the ball, they've actually been more efficient throwing it. The Wolverines offense is 74th in EPA per rush, yet the offense grades 12th in EPA per pass. The matchup lends well to McCarthy and Wilson cooking corn all afternoon.
My best bet: Roman Wilson Over 58.5 receiving yards (-115 at bet365)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
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Michigan vs Nebraska same-game parlay
Roman Wilson Over 58.5 receiving yards (-115)
Roman Wilson anytime touchdown (-120)
J.J. McCarthy Over 224.5 passing yards (-115)
When Wilson is putting up yards, it means he’s scoring points too. He has six receiving touchdowns in four games this season, with all six coming in his first three contests.
Currently, Wilson is on pace to finish the season with 18 receiving touchdowns, just three shy of Heisman winner Desmond Howard’s single-season record with the Wolverines. He’s quickly become McCarthy’s favorite weapon to put points on the board with, and it’s reflected in the numbers with Wilson catching 75% of the Michigan quarterbacks' touchdown passes this season.
Wilson is in a position to add to that number on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, as the Cornhuskers have given up five passing touchdowns in four games to far inferior opponents.
As for McCarthy, he’s gone Over 224.5 passing yards twice in four games this season, and when the Wolverines let him air it out, he rewards them. In the two games he’s thrown for more than 224.5 yards, he’s averaged 27.5 attempts, 286.5 passing yards, and 2.5 touchdown passes. In the two games he’s finished below 224.5, he’s averaged just 17 attempts.
With the way White’s defense has stopped the run this year, Michigan is going to be more likely to lean on McCarthy’s arm.
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Michigan vs Nebraska spread and Over/Under analysis
The Wolverines opened between 17 and 18-point road favorites at most books and the line hasn’t moved much, though some books have them at -16.5.
Keep in mind Michigan has yet to cover the spread this season, going 0-3-1. They’re one of nine teams in the FBS yet to cover.
Meanwhile, Nebraska has gone 2-2 against the spread this season but didn’t cover last week as 20-point favorites at home against Louisiana Tech.
As for the game total, it’s been all over the place with some books opening as high as 46.5 and others as low as 40.5. The total has continued to shift downward with many books listing a total between 39 and 38.5.
Both of these teams have been prone to hit the Under with Michigan going Under in nine of their last 14 games (+3.50 Units / 23% ROI), and Nebraska hitting Under in nine of their last 12 games (+5.70 Units / 43% ROI).
This season, Michigan is one of eight teams yet to hit the game total Over (0-4) and Nebraska is just 1-3 when betting the Over.
Michigan’s defense has only allowed 23 points this season and held opponents to an average of 2.8 yards per carry and 6.3 yards per pass attempt.
Michigan vs Nebraska betting trend to know
Michigan has hit the team total Over in four of their last five games (+2.85 Units / 49% ROI). Find more college football betting trends for Michigan vs Nebraska.
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Michigan vs Nebraska game info
|Location:||Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE|
|Date:||Saturday, September 30, 2023|
|Kickoff:||3:30 p.m. ET|
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