Nebraska vs Purdue Odds, Picks and Predictions: Huskers Have Value as Underdogs

The Boilermakers will get set to take on Nebraska in a Big 10 matchup. In the last eight meetings between these sides, the underdog side has covered six times — and our college football predictions see that trend continuing.

Jason Ence - Betting Analyst at
Jason Ence • Betting Analyst
Oct 15, 2022 • 07:49 ET • 4 min read
Casey Thompson Nebraska Cornhuskers College Football
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The resurgent Nebraska Cornhuskers look to win their third straight game after a disastrous start and a coaching change, as they visit the Purdue Boilermakers in a Big 10 showdown on Saturday.

Purdue is off to a 4-2 start and riding a three-game win streak, and is playing well offensively with a passing attack that averages 300 yards per game.

Despite their poor start, the Huskers are tied with Purdue and Illinois atop the Big 10 West, and a win could give them a big leg up in the division race. Let’s see how the teams match up in our Nebraska vs Purdue college football picks and predictions for Saturday, October 15.

Nebraska vs Purdue best odds

Nebraska vs Purdue picks and predictions

After a shocking 45-42 defeat at home to Georgia Southern saw the Cornhuskers get off to a 1-2 start, Nebraska fired head coach Scott Frost. In the three games since under interim coach Mickey Joseph, It's worked its way back to a .500 record on the season. A 49-14 shellacking by Oklahoma has been followed by a pair of conference wins, including a one-point victory on the road at Rutgers last weekend.

Now the Huskers hit the road again, traveling to West Lafayette, where Purdue’s high-powered passing attack awaits to test their improving defense. Aidan O’Connell is having a strong season, throwing for 1,559 yards and 10 scores while leading the Boilermakers to a 4-2 start. Last week, he helped lead a fourth-quarter comeback in the final four minutes against Maryland on the road — their second conference win in succession.

While O’Connell and his receiving corps garner much of the attention, much of Purdue’s success is predicated on having a somewhat balanced attack. While splitting carries most games, both Devin Mockobee and Dylan Downing have averaged about 20 carries per game between them, and typically one of the two will have a strong game in Purdue’s wins this season. 

However, Downing was injured last week and will miss the game. He’s joined on the sidelines by King Doerue, their true No. 1 back who has been out since their second game of the season. The Boilermakers are also dealing with some injuries in the wide receiver group, with top receiver Charlie Jones playing banged up of late.

To make matters worse, starting right tackle Daniel Johnson has been ruled out for the season by head coach Jeff Brohm after missing the Maryland game — the second right tackle they’ve lost to injury. 

Purdue’s injury issues along the offensive line has the unit very thin and has forced Brohm to rotate some pieces. Maryland exploited this to its advantage, sacking O’Connell five times on the day. That’s as many sacks as the Terps had recorded over their previous three games combined. The Boilermakers have also turned the ball over eight times over their last three games, including three against the Terps.

Nebraska’s improvement on both sides of the ball is making it much more competitive, and it's a team playing with confidence. QB Casey Thompson is improving week by week, and will have enough success against a leaky Purdue pass defense to keep things close. 

Purdue has had issues closing out games this season due to its poor pass defense, and it's yet to beat an FBS team by more than 10 points. That fact, combined with the injury concerns they carry into this game, is why it’s unlikely the Boilermakers will cover the spread. 

Over the last six meetings between these two programs, the road team has covered the spread five times. Take Nebraska and the points, and look for it to continue that trend.

My best bet: Nebraska +14 (-112 at BetRivers)

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Nebraska vs Purdue spread analysis

The Boilermakers opened as 11 to 12-point favorites at most books, and that number was quickly bet up to two touchdowns. While the Huskers have improved, real questions still exist regarding their run game. Nebraska is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry despite running the ball nearly 41 times per contest, but it's doing a good job of converting on third down which has negated that lack of explosive playmaking ability on the ground.

Purdue has been outstanding in the red zone this season, converting on almost 94% of its opportunities inside the 20-yard line. That could be the key in this game, as Nebraska ranks in the bottom half of all teams in red zone defense this season.

The Cornhuskers have covered the spread just once in their last seven games, and just three times in their last nine games against Purdue. The Boilermakers have covered the spread in six of their last nine games overall, and in three of the last four against Nebraska.

Nebraska vs Purdue Over/Under analysis

The total of 56.5 has come down about a point from where it opened, but the trends don’t really provide much help in this one. Purdue’s last seven home games have seen the Over hit six times, and the Over has also been the winner in six of their last eight overall. Meanwhile, four of Nebraska’s last five games have gone Under, while five of the last six games the Huskers have played against West foes have gone Over.

The Over would be the play in my opinion. Purdue has been involved in some high-scoring affairs this season, with four of their six games seeing at least 54 points scored. Last week was the first time Nebraska had been involved in a game that failed to reach 55 points, which was more a reflection of Rutgers’ poor offense than Nebraska’s defense. With the defensive issues both teams have against the pass, this could be another high-scoring affair. 

Nebraska vs Purdue betting trend to know

The underdog is 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between Nebraska and Purdue. Find more NCAA betting trends for Nebraska vs. Purdue.

Nebraska vs Purdue game info

Location: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2022
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

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