Dr. Bob Previews #24 MISSOURI (+3.5) Vs. #21 NEBRASKA

Robert StollCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Blaine Gabbert #11 of the University of Missouri Tigers passes against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini during the State Farm Arch Rivalry on September 5, 2009 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Fighting Illini 37-9.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

#21 Nebraska (-3.5) 28 #24 MISSOURI 26

Over/Under Total: 52.5
06:00 PM Pacific Time Thursday, Oct-08

Missouri certainly entered this season underrated and the Tigers are a good team, but they may be overrated a bit right now. Missouri's offense has averaged a healthy 6.6 yards per play in their 4 games when starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been in the game, but they've faced 4 sub-par defensive teams that would combine to allow 5.8 yppl to an average offensive team, so the Tigers are actually only 0.8 yppl better than average offensively and are up against a very good Nebraska defense that has yielded just 4.4 yppl (against teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average team) and held Virginia Tech's good offense to just 4.3 yppl on the road a few of weeks ago.

Missouri has an excellent defense that has given up just 4.8 yppl (excluding the final two series against Furman when the backups played) against teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average team. Nebraska is 1.4 yppl better than average offensively when their starters are in (7.2 yppl against teams that would allow 5.8 yppl), but the Huskers were just 0.6 yppl better than average in their only game against a good defensive team - averaging 5.2 yppl against a Virginia Tech defense that would allow 4.6 yppl at home to an average attack. So, it's not a reach to think that Missouri's defense can neutralize Nebraska's offense.

My math model actually favors Nebraska to cover in this game and gives the Huskers a profitable 54% chance of covering at -3 1/2 points, but Missouri applies to a very strong 62-13 ATS home underdog momentum situation while Nebraska applies to a negative 23-63-3 ATS situation. The situational analysis favoring Missouri has a 59% chance of working and I'll lean with Missouri plus the points based on the strong technical analysis.

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