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Nebraska has a date with the orthodontist late Saturday afternoon, and nobody relishes multiple root canals.

That’s this Illinois defense, the toughest in the land at yielding 0.165 points per play. It barely bends on the road, too, allowing 0.234, the third-best away figure in college football.

A national ABC television audience will witness the grit that second-year Illini boss Bret Bielema has installed in his program.

So, here’s a look at Illinois vs. Nebraska odds and a pick in Week 9 of the NCAAF season.

Illinois vs. Nebraska Betting Lines: Point Spread, Total, Moneyline

Here are live odds from around the betting market for Illinois vs. Nebraska at Memorial Stadium.

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No. 17 Illinois Fighting Illini (6-1, 5-2 Against the Spread)

Illinois beat Minnesota, 26-14, two weekends ago, which capped a silly stretch in which the Illini defenders allowed a mere touchdown over a stretch of 17 consecutive quarters.

The Illini hadn’t sniffed a national ranking for 10 seasons until now and some of the notes are borderline ridiculous.

At home, nobody has passed for a touchdown against Illinois. Minnesota ran it in twice and those are the lone rushing TDs the Illini have allowed — and it won outright as a 4.5-point dog.

Nobody has both run and passed for triple-digit yardage against Illinois, which it has accomplished against every foe. Against three poor opponents, the Illini have gained at least 200 yards on the ground and in the air.

The past five Illinois enemies have averaged 196 yards of offense.

This defense went into the season largely unheralded, save for top-50 national tackles Keith Randolph Jr. and Jer’Zhan Newton, according to Phil Steele’s preseason annual. Tarique Barnes was tabbed as a top-50 inside linebacker.

Kendall Smith, a senior free safety, has four picks, which is second in the Big Ten to Wisconsin junior free safety John Torchio’s five.

Defensive coordinator Ryan Walters along with strength and conditioning boss Tank Wright deserve major kudos.

Illinois vs. Nebraska Odds & Pick: A Bet on the Total
QB Tommy DeVito and RB Chase Brown are featured in our Illinois vs. Nebraska odds & pick. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Wright, especially, is a force. In a video making the rounds, he trumpeted Bielema’s philosophy that the way his charges train and work in the weight room “will become game-day reality.”

That reality punishes opposing offenses.

The Illinois offense is basic. Former Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito, a 6-foot-2 fifth-year senior, is 13th in the nation with a 70.3 completion percentage. He has thrown for 10 TDs, had two passes picked off, and run it in four times.

Chase Brown, a 5-11, 205-pound junior tailback, leads the country with 1,059 yards. Maybe he should have been mentioned much higher than here, but he has only four rushing TDs and two through the air. He has two fumbles.

No receiver — Brian Hightower, Pat Bryant, and Isaiah Williams are Devito’s main ones — has hauled in more than two TDs.  

That 5-2 mark against the spread includes a 9-6 trench-warfare triumph against Iowa as a 3.5-point favorite; otherwise, Illinois is 4-0 covering the number as a favorite this season.

One forecast predicts perfect pigskin weather, low 60s at kickoff, zero chance of rain, and minimal wind.

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Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-4, 2-5 ATS)

Scott Frost got dumped three games into the campaign, and Mickey Joseph took over as interim head coach. That 14-13 home victory over Rutgers is the template that fits this game, too.

Nebraska has a bottom-20 national rush defense, yielding 4.8 yards per run. That’s even worse at home, however, at 5.7; only six programs are worse against the rush in their own yards.

Chase Brown will read the above graf and sleep very well Friday night.

Casey Thompson, the ex-Texas QB, has thrown for 11 TDs, had eight passes picked off, and he’s run it in for five scores, too.

Former JUCO tailback Anthony Grant has established himself with a 4.7-yard average and six TDs while 6-1 junior Trey Palmer, an LSU transfer, averages nearly 17 yards a catch and has scored five times.

Illinois vs. Nebraska Sports Betting Recommendation & Pick

The Big Ten has been tough for Nebraska, which joined in 2011. Since ’15, Big Red is 24-41 in the league. It hasn’t played in a bowl game since the ’17 season.

Its woes will continue Saturday when perhaps the upstart squad of the country visits with its clamps, pliers, and extracting forceps.

Since Bielema took over at Illinois, its games are 12-5-2 to the Under, tied with Georgia Tech for third in that category. Plus, the Illini had last weekend off, so it’ll be rested and prepared.

The Huskers might want to ask for extra sedation for the procedures.

Our Pick: Under 50.5 (-110)

Also read: Find the best sportsbook app for you | How to bet on CFB

About the Author
Rob Miech

Rob Miech

Rob Miech is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today who covers soccer and specializes in features content. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. Miech is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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