When a team has won straight-up as a road underdog four times in their last five games, bettors take notice.
And that's why the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are attracting attention in Vegas and at sportsbooks all over the world today as they visit Nebraska.
It's a game where many feel they are overmatched, but after beating Houston, Navy, Virginia and UCF as road dogs a year ago, the 20-point spread (according to odds aggregator OddsShark.com) against the Huskers may prove to be easy pickings.
It's the Big Ten vs. Conference USA, as the Cornhuskers, ranked No. 17 in the preseason AP poll, host the Golden Eagles for a season-opener Saturday afternoon in Lincoln (3:30 pm ET , ABC/ESPN2).
Most college football betting outlets covered by OddsShark.com opened this game earlier last week with Nebraska favored by around 15 points, with a total of 53. But as of Saturday, the Huskers had been bet up to -20.
Nebraska returns seven starters on both sides of the ball this year, from a team that went 9-4 last year, 5-3 in the Big Ten and lost to South Carolina in a bowl. QB Taylor Martinez (2,000 yards passing, 900 yards rushing last year) is joined by RB Rex Burkhead (1,350 rushing yards, 15 TD LY) on offense, and five of last year's top seven tacklers return on defense.
Southern Miss, meanwhile, only gets 10 starters back from a team that went 12-2 last year, upset Houston in the C-USA championship game and beat Hawaii in a bowl. And that success led to the departure of head man Larry Fedora, who left to take over at North Carolina.
The Eagles also have to replace QB Austin Davis and seven starters on defense. But they get back four guys who rushed for at least 400 yards last year, along with four starters on the offensive line.
These two teams last met eight years ago, when the Eagles waded into the Sea of Red and parlayed five 'Huskers turnovers into a 21-17 upset victory.
Free NCAAF Pick: Nebraska has the advantage in returning talent and is looking to extend a 26-game home-opener winning streak. That being said, 20 points is a lot in this spot, especially given the Eagles' recent history as a road dog.
So we take those points with Southern Miss.
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