Excuse the Nebraska Cornhuskers if they have revenge on their mind when they host the Wisconsin Badgers in their Big Ten season opener Saturday night (8 pm ET, ABC).
Last September, Nebraska was welcomed into the Big Ten by the Badgers, who put a 48-17 hurtin' on the Huskers at Camp Randall. Nebraska would love to return the favor Saturday night, and the point spread hints that it might be possible.
The Huskers sat as 12-point home favorites at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com (as of midday Friday). And they are 6-2 against the spread in eight recent games as a double-digit favorite, according to NCAA football database outputs on that betting situation.
The Huskers returned 14 starters this season, seven on each side of the ball, from a team that went 9-4 last year. Those returnees included QB Taylor Martinez, RB Rex Burkhead and three along the defensive line.
They face a struggling Badger team that has failed to cover in six straight road games.
Nebraska opened its season with a 49-20 victory at home over Southern Miss, but then got beat out at UCLA 36-30, giving up 653 yards to the Bruins offense. Since then the Huskers have beaten Arkansas State 42-13 and Idaho State 73-7.
On the other side of this matchup, Wisconsin only returned 11 starters from a team that went 11-3 last year and won the inaugural Big Ten championship game. The Badgers opened this season with a 26-21 victory at home over Northern Iowa (FCS), a game they led 26-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin then, like Nebraska, flew out to the West Coast only to lose to a Pac-12 team, falling 10-7 at Oregon State.
Wisconsin then hosted Utah State, where they should have lost, After rallying to take a 16-14 lead, the Badgers held their collective breath as the Aggies missed a 37-yard field goal at the buzzer.
During that game, the Badgers benched starting quarterback Danny O'Brien in favor of freshman Joel Stave, who then made his first college start last week and went 12-of-17 passing for 210 yards in a 37-26 victory over UTEP.
Stave is expected to start Saturday night.
In that game in Madison last year, Nebraska actually led 14-7 in the second quarter, but Wisconsin went on a 41-3 run to finish the game.
Earlier this week most betting outlets opened Nebraska at -13 for Saturday's game, with a total of 50. As of Friday morning the Huskers had been dropped to -11.5.
Free Pick: Wisconsin has looked terrible on offense this year, but the defense has held up. And double-digit points looks like a bit too much for this game. Despite Nebraska's plans for revenge we'll take the points with the Badgers. (courtesy of PickShark.com)
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