Nebraska Football: Picking Every 2012 Game on the Board Against the Spread

Patrick RungeCorrespondent IJune 17, 2012

Nebraska Football: Picking Every 2012 Game on the Board Against the Spread

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    In June, college football fans have to grab every shred of hope they can to make it through the summer. So the Golden Nugget did us all a huge favor by releasing betting lines on 111 of next year’s college football games (h/t

    Five of those lines are for Nebraska games. So let’s look ahead and pick against the spread for a way-early look at NU’s big games in 2012. For entertainment purposes only, of course.

Sept. 8: Nebraska at UCLA (+7)

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    Of the five games, this one might be the trickiest to call on Nebraska’s schedule. UCLA will be breaking in a new coach, Jim Mora Jr., and Nebraska’s trip to Los Angeles will be the Bruins’ first opportunity to make a national statement for the new regime.

    Nebraska has better talent than UCLA, and NU under Bo Pelini has generally played well on the road (Wisconsin and Michigan notwithstanding). But seven points is a big number, particularly given the motivation UCLA will have. I expect Nebraska to win this game, but the safest play is to take the points.

    Way-Too-Early Play: Take UCLA and the points.

Sept. 29: Wisconsin at Nebraska (-3)

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    Given the line, it appears the early view is that Nebraska and Wisconsin are even from a talent level. But a number of factors play in Nebraska’s favor in this matchup. While Montee Ball will take the field for the Badgers, Russell Wilson is gone; and Nebraska will have a home-field advantage and a vengeance game in its favor.

    Way-Too-Early Play: Lay the points and take Nebraska.

Oct. 6: Nebraska at Ohio State (-1)

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    The toughest game on Nebraska’s schedule looks to be the trip to Columbus. Not only will Urban Meyer be well into his first year in charge of the Buckeyes, but Braxton Miller will have another year of experience under his belt leading an offense Meyer will tailor-make for him.

    Before his injury, Miller was carving up Nebraska’s defense, and NU was looking to suffer another embarrassing defeat in conference play. The combination of a healthy Miller with a trip to the Horseshoe makes this game, unfortunately for Nebraska, the strongest play of the five.

    Way-Too-Early Play: Lay the point and take Ohio State.

Oct. 26: Michigan at Nebraska (+2)

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    The second of Nebraska’s vengeance games comes when the Wolverines arrive in Lincoln. Denard Robinson will be well into his senior season, and Michigan’s offense will still be driven by the unique talents of "Shoelace."

    But the home-field advantage for Nebraska could make a big difference in the rematch, and the ability to pay Michigan back for an ugly loss the previous year makes taking Nebraska and the points a smart play.

    Way-Too-Early Play: Take Nebraska and the points.

Nov. 3: Nebraska at Michigan State (-5)

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    The Spartans are a tough unit to forecast for 2012. The defense should be excellent, and Le’Veon Bell may be the most underrated running back in the B1G, but no Kirk Cousins makes Michigan State’s offense a question mark next season.

    And regardless, Michigan State’s offensive style plays into Nebraska’s defensive style more than most in the conference, meaning the Blackshirts are more likely to be successful.

    Five points is a big number, given how the teams match up against each other, making NU a strong play.

    Way-Too-Early Play: Take Nebraska and the points.

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