Nebraska vs. Minnesota Odds & Prediction: Rhule Era Begins for Cornhuskers

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Week 1 of the college football season is here with a Thursday night Big Ten showdown. The Nebraska Cornhuskers will kick off the Matt Rhule era in Minneapolis as they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Oddsmakers list Minnesota as a touchdown-favorite at home, but they are also expecting a rock fight, as the total sits around 42.5 to 43.5 points at most sportsbooks.

This is not the most attractive matchup of the night, but Big Ten games are always exciting and worth a bet. We will break down the Nebraska vs. Minnesota odds and give our best betting prediction.

Also read: How to bet on CFB | Heisman Trophy odds | NCAAF National Championship odds

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Odds: Spread, Moneyline, Total

Here are the Nebraska vs. Minnesota odds from some of our favorite sports betting apps:

Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-8 SU, 3-9 ATS in 22)

The Scott Forst era finally came to an end last season. While Nebraska is still not ready to re-enter the national spotlight, hiring Rhule was a gigantic first step. He was one of the best college coaches in the country before bolting for the NFL.

Rhule led Temple to back-to-back 10+ win seasons before taking the Baylor job. While he has a reputation for building programs fast, his first seasons have been rough. At Temple, he went 2-10 in 2013, and at Baylor, they could only win one game in his first season.

Luckily, the Huskers are returning a lot of talent, and they reloaded through the transfer portal, especially at quarterback. They went out and grabbed Georgia Tech quarterback transfer Jeff Sims, who will be the starter against Minnesota.

While his career has not gone exactly as many thought, Sims is still incredibly talented. Many ACC coaches have raved about his athletic ability, and under Rhule and offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, he should thrive in an offense designed to run the ball and rely on the quarterback’s athletic ability.

Nebraska is also bringing back three of the top four leading rushers, including Anthony Grant, who had six rushing touchdowns last season. He will be running behind an offensive line with some questions, but it is an experienced group. The receiver room is also questionable, but they brought in a few transfers in Josh Fleeks and Billy Kemp.

Defensively, the Huskers were terrible last season, ranking 102nd in total defense and 120th in run defense. They also lost most of the front seven from last season, and while they’re returning the entire secondary, it underperformed significantly last year.

While they brought in a few transfers to help fill the hole up front, this is not a very good defense.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS in 22)

Minnesota is losing a lot of production from last season, including quarterback Tanner Morgan and star running back Mohamed Ibrahim. However, there is a lot of hype around this team in 2023, and for good reason.

Losing your quarterback from the last five seasons, the school’s all-time leading rusher, and three starting linemen will undoubtedly hurt. Luckily, they are bringing in Western Michigan transfer running back Sean Tyler, who has rushed for 2,177 yards and 16 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Minnesota will also be breaking in four-star redshirt freshman quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, who has gotten a lot of praise from P.J. Fleck over his cannon of an arm. The Gophers liked to run the ball a lot in 2022. We should see them cater the offense more toward Kaliakmanis this season, especially with many new full-time starters on the offensive line.

However, each of the starting five offensive linemen played in every game last season. Combine that with a talented dual-threat QB, an experienced running back, and a new-look receiver room, and you have all the makings of an excellent offense. Let’s not be mistaken; the run-game will always be this team’s bread & butter, but look for Fleck to drop the top a little this season.

On the other side of the ball, Minnesota was quietly one of the best defenses in football last season. They ranked in the top 10 in scoring, points per play, yards per game, and third down conversion rate. While they need to replace a few key players in the secondary, there is a lot of hype around Darius Green, who looked good in the Pinstripe Bowl last season and has impressed at camp.

The secondary is depleted, but they’re not facing a great pass attack in this game, and they should be able to start the season strong on defense.

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Betting Trends & Notes

Nebraska

  • Nebraska is 4-2 ATS in its last six games.
  • Nebraska is 2-4 ATS in its last six games against Minnesota.
  • The total has gone UNDER in four of Nebraska’s last five games.
  • The total has gone OVER in four of Nebraska’s last five games in Minnesota.

Minnesota

  • The total has gone UNDER in four of Minnesota’s last six games.
  • Minnesota is 3-6 ATS in its last nine games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in eight of Minnesota’s last 10 home games
  • Minnesota is 10-0 SU in its last 10 games played in August.

The Cornhuskers are only 1-9 SU in its last 10 games when playing as an underdog. However, they are 6-4 ATS in those games, including covering three of their last four games. As a road dog, they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games and have covered in seven of their last eight.

Meanwhile, the Gophers are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games when playing as the favorite, but they have only covered one in their last three games when favored. When playing as a home favorite, Minnesota has been much more consistent.

The last time Minnesota played as a home favorite of at least seven points was in 2008 when they barely covered against Indiana. But, they have been very good as home favorites, as they are 19-10-1 ATS in their last 30 home games when favored.

Conference previews: SEC odds | Big 10 odds | Pac 12 odds | ACC odds | Big 12 odds

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Prediction: Cornhuskers Keep it Close

Minnesota has dominated when playing as a home favorite. However, they are usually not getting a touchdown on the spread.

Both teams are breaking in new payers at critical positions, including quarterback. While Kaliakmanis is getting a lot of hype out of Minnesota, Sims was also a highly recruited player, and we have seen his talent shine at times when he was at Georgia Tech.

Ultimately, Sims has not been very consistent. But a new coach, school, and system that fits his style can be a big boost to a young player’s progression. We expect Nebraska to keep this game close, but against this Minnesota defense, it will be hard moving the ball, converting third downs, and ripping off big chunk plays.

Meanwhile, Minnesota is going to open the playbook a little more this season. However, they are a power team at its core, and they still have a solid running back room and a very experienced offensive line.

We should expect some regression from both the running back position and on defense for Minnesota. With that, this game should be a low-scoring game. Our official pick is that this game will go under, and Nebraska will cover the spread but ultimately find a way to lose outright.

Nebraska vs. Minnesota Pick: Nebraska & Under

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How To Watch Nebraska vs. Minnesota

Date: Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023

Kick Off: 8 p.m. ET

Location: Huntington Bank Stadium — Minneapolis, MN

Where to Watch: Fox

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About the Author
DJ Corrigan

DJ Corrigan

Writer
DJ Corrigan is a sports betting writer for Gaming Today and has been covering the world of wagering since his days at Ohio State University. Corrigan's love of betting the Over and chasing the hungry dogs has led him to a career crunching numbers with an emphasis on NCAAF, NCAAB, NFL, and MLB betting.

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