Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-2)(3-2ATS) v. No. 15 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1)(5-0ATS) Saturday, Oct. 17, 3:30pm ET, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE, ABC
By Evergreen of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Texas Tech +10/Nebraska -10
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As the NCAA football season enters the middle part of the schedule, the weekly conference clashes start to clear up the contender/pretender picture around the country. The Big 12 has a nice matchup this weekend when Nebraska welcomes Texas Tech to Lincoln with the Huskers hoping to slow one of the best offenses in the nation and remain in a possible national title hunt. The Red Raiders would love to pull the upset and keep it’s name in the ring for a Big 12 championship game berth. The game kicks at 3:30 ET and is part of the ABC telecast.
Vegas opened this game with the Cornhuskers as 6 point favorites, but most of the online sportsbooks had moved that figure to -10 or -11 by Tuesday morning. The money line is also all over the place with Tech anywhere from +115 to +300 and Nebraska in the -135 to -370 range. The over/under total for the game is 53.
Texas Tech is coming in riding a 2-2 mark in their last four games, but look much better of late after losing 28-29 at Houston two weeks ago. The Raiders are coming off their best offensive efforts of the year, hanging 66 on Kansas State last week to go with the 48 they put up against New Mexico in the previous week. Tech is 1-1 in the Big 12 South, good for fourth and will likely be an also ran if they can’t steal one this week. QB Taylor Potts is listed as questionable for Saturday with a concussion, but Steven Sheffield filled in successfully with Potts out last week.
Nebraska has been winning this year with a good offensive mix and one of the best defenses in the country with their only loss coming at Virginia Tech where they lost 15-16 to a final minute touchdown pass.Since the loss, the Huskers dominated Louisiana-Lafayette and took out Mizzou on the road by a 27-12 margin. Nebraska is 1-0 in the Big 12 North and trail only undefeated Kansas in the overall standings.
Saturday’s game is the second half of a home and home with Texas Tech looking to make it two in a row after a 37-31 win in October of last year. The Underdog is 5-2 against the spread in the last seven meetings between these teams.
Texas Tech brings a solid 5-2 ATS mark in recent Big 12 action but have struggled as the road dog, going just 1-4 against the spread in the last five such games. Nebraska has been hot against the spread of late, compiling a 6-0 run in the last six overall and are 4-0 ATS in the last four games played in Lincoln.
The Red Raiders haven’t lost a step offensively after losing Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree as they currently rank 2nd in the nation in points scored at 43.2 per contest. The passing game is the clear strength of the team, producing a second best 443 yards per game and 521 total yard average. With all that passing, there isn’t much need to run with Tech having 10 players with at least 10 receptions and 11 different pass catchers with at least one touchdown grab. The defensive ranks are very average, especially the pass defense, but that is skewed by how much opposing offenses have been forced to throw.
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Nebraska is the definition of balanced when it comes to offensive output. The Huskers rank between 41st and 43rd in total yards, pass yards and rush yards, leaving the opponent defense unable to focus on stopping any one phase. The balance is leading to a lot of points with Nebraska averaging 36.8 per game, good for 15th in the nation. The Husker defense may be the best overall unit in the NCAA, allowing just 272 total yards per contest and a mere 8 points per game, second fewest in the FBS.
If Potts is able to play for Tech, he brings 1,817 yards and 13 touchdowns to the weekend, but there will be little dropoff ifthebackupis forced to start again. Sheffield has thrown for 11 scores in his time, including seven touchdowns last week and is hitting on 75% of his passes. Baron Batch and Harrison Jeffers have less than 500 rush yards combined, but they have accounted for nine ground scores, so at least they can finish. The Raiders spread it around so anyone could pop off a big game, but Tramain Swindall and Detron Lewis have been the pace setters in terms of catches and yards.
Zac Lee leads the Huskers from under center, passing for 1,086 yards and throwing for 10 scores so far and will extend plays with some fine scrambles. Running back Roy Helu is the offensive spark plug, rushing for 557 yards and 6 scores, adding 91 yards as a receiver out of the backfield. Helu is on the injury report for Nebraska, but is listed as probable and expected to play through a minor shoulder injury. Curenski Gilleylen leads the Huskers with 269 receiving yards and Niles Paul shares the touchdown lead with Mike McNeill with both players accounting for three scores each.
As of Tuesday, Texas Tech has listed the following players on the injury report: QB Taylor Potts (Quest.) concussion, C Shawn Bynes (Quest.) leg, LB Cody Davis (Quest.) leg.
As of Tuesday, Nebraska has listed the following players on the injury report: RB Roy Helu (Prob.) shoulder, S Ricky Thenarse, (Quest.) knee, CB Jason Dean (Out) knee.
Evergreen’s Pick: No suprise that this comes down to the Tech O against the Husker D. If you got Nebraska at -6 or -7, consider yourself very fortunate as the line moved 5 points in about 24 hours. As good as Nebraska’s defense has been, they can’t keep the Red Raiders from scoring all together and they will put up points as well, so I like the over with Nebraska winning 35-28.