Nebraska vs Northwestern Odds, Picks and Predictions: Wildcats Getting Too Many Points in Season Opener

Week 0 of College Football has arrived, and the marquee matchup is set to take place in Ireland. As two-touchdown dogs, we'll be riding with the Wildcats on Saturday. Find out why in our Nebraska vs. Northwestern betting picks.

Andrew Caley - Senior Betting Analyst at
Andrew Caley • Senior Betting Analyst
Aug 25, 2022 • 19:07 ET • 4 min read

The 2022-23 college football season kicks off this weekend. Still, the biggest matchup won’t actually be on U.S. soil, as Big Ten rivals Nebraska and Northwestern head to the "Emerald Isle” to do battle at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

Both teams are coming off disappointing 3-9 seasons, but all the pressure is on Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers to put on a solid performance in the opener. Frankly, it’s expected, with Nebraska listed as nearly a two-touchdown favorite. But will Pat Fitzgerald’s defense, combined with a little luck of the Irish, give the Wildcats some value? 

Find out in our free college football betting picks and predictions for Nebraska vs. Northwestern on Saturday, August 27.

Nebraska vs Northwestern odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Nebraska opened this Big 12 matchup as roughly 12-point favorites on this neutral site and have seen most of the early money, with the line getting as big as Cornhuskers -14. The total hit the board around 50.5 and has been as low as 49.5, but bounced back to the opening number as of Thursday afternoon.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets.

Nebraska vs Northwestern predictions

Predictions made on 8/25/2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Nebraska vs Northwestern game info

Location: Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
Date: Saturday, August 27, 2021
Kick-off: 12:30 p.m. ET

Nebraska vs Northwestern betting preview


Aviva Stadium in Dublin is an indoor venue. Monitor more gametime conditions with our College football weather info.

Key injuries

Nebraska: No key injuries to report.
Northwestern: No key injuries to report.
Find our latest College football injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Cornhuskers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Find more NCAA betting trends for Nebraska vs. Northwestern.

Nebraska vs Northwestern picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

You may be asking why the line is so big in a matchup of 3-9 teams. Well, despite exact records, these were still a different class of teams in the Big Ten a season ago, exemplified by a 56-7 thrashing the Cornhuskers handed the Wildcats a year ago.

And to give Nebraska some credit, they lost all nine games by single digits and by a total of just 63 points. Meanwhile, Northwestern had a negative point differential of 149.

However, there are no consolation prizes in college football, and it's put up or shut up time for Scott Frost. The team is just 15-29 with no winning seasons or bowl appearances during Frost’s tenure, culminating with last year’s ugly record.

With little room for error, you knew big changes were coming to Lincoln, particularly on the offense. Frost is handing the reins of his offense over to new coordinator Mark Whipple, who comes over from Pittsburgh after a year where he helped Kenny Pickett become a Heisman finalist. 

Gone as well is quarterback Adrian Martinez, who entered the transfer portal and headed to Kansas State. Now it is up to Texas transfer Casey Thompson to lead this new Cornhuskers’ offense. The former longhorn threw for 2,113 yards and 24 touchdowns last season and should have some decent weapons on the outside to work with, including transfers Trey Palmer and Marcus Washington.

They’ll go against what was a surprisingly bad Pat Fitzgerald defense in 2021. The Wildcats ranked 89th in scoring defense, but there should be an improvement in Year 2 of defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil’s system. The secondary looks solid, and defensive end Adetomiwa Adebawore should provide plenty of pressure off the edge.

Northwestern’s biggest problem heading into this season is its offense. It sounds like Ryan Hilinski is back under center, which isn’t necessarily good. But if the Wildcats want to have a chance in this game, they know it will be with consistent defense and grinding out possessions on offense by running the ball.

They should be able to do that thanks to a strong offensive line and a solid tandem in the backfield of Cam Porter and Evan Hull, going against a Nebraska defense returning just five starters.

This is just too many points to lay with a team that is working in a lot of new offensive pieces, with a ton of pressure to succeed against a school traditionally known for its defense.

Plus, are we really going to fade a guy named Fitzgerald in Ireland? Take the two touchdowns with the Wildcats.

Prediction: Northwestern +14 (-110 at Caesars)

Over/Under analysis

For a lot of the same reasons to like Northwestern ATS in this matchup, the Under looks like a great play here. 

For starters, we already touched on the fact that this Nebraska offense is set up for a slow start while it tries to build some chemistry. On top of that, this team ranked 70th in the country, scoring 27.9 points per game.

Then there is the Wildcats' offense. This unit managed just 16.6 points per game and 4.6 yards per play last season, ranking 125th and 118th nationally.  Even if there is some improvement at quarterback this season, Northwestern's bread and butter is the run game and grinding out possessions. This, in turn, means milking that clock.

And even though Nebraska only returns five starters on defense, coordinator Erik Chinander has done a solid job on this unit over the last few seasons. He is coming off a season where they allowed a solid 22.7 points per game.

This number looks a couple of points too high. 

Prediction: Under 50.5 (-110 at Caesars)

Best bet

Nebraska put up 56 points in last year’s meeting, but Adrian Martinez accounted for four of those scores, and now he's gone. There are just so many new faces, new play callers, and a new offense for the Huskers.

Expecting them to come out firing in their first game together against one that loves to play a physical brand of football makes the total a little ambitious.

Pick: Under 50.5 (-110 at Caesars)

College football parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Nebraska vs. Northwestern picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

Use our college football parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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