Nebraska vs Minnesota Prediction - College Football Picks 8/31/23

Minnesota Golden Gophers (0-0) vs Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-0)

Game Info: Thursday, August 31, 2023 at 8:00 pm (Huntington Bank Stadium)

Betting Odds: Minnesota Golden Gophers -7.5 -- Over/Under: 44 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Nebraska Cornhuskers will play the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a Big Ten Game on Thursday night at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota comes into this season looking to build off of their recent success, while Nebraska is just trying to get back to a bowl game. 

Nebraska Preview

The Nebraska Cornhuskers were 4-8 last season and they finished 3-6 in the Big Ten. Nebraska started the season with a wild loss to Northwestern in Ireland and it snowballed from there. Nebraska picked up wins against North Dakota, Indiana, Rutgers, and Iowa to end the season. The Cornhuskers did lose five of their last six games, but did play Minnesota tough last year, losing 20-13. Jeff Sims transferred in from Georgia Tech and he will play quarterback. Sims can also use his legs to make plays, which is something Nebraska missed last year. The Cornhuskers do return Anthony Grant at running back, who rushed for 915 yards and six scores last year. Nebraska lost their leading receiver from 2022, but they do return their second leading receiver and a couple of transfers. On the defensive side, Nebraska will need to be better than they were last year. The Cornhuskers started off last season by allowing Northwestern to move the ball up and down the field on them, so it won’t take much to have a better outcome here. 

Minnesota Preview

The Minnesota Golden Gophers were 9-4 last season and they went 5-4 in Big Ten play. Minnesota suffered losses to Purdue, Illinois, Penn State, and Iowa, three of which came in three consecutive games in October. The Golden Gophers played Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl, winning by a score of 28-20. Minnesota lost a good amount of production from last year, so it will be interesting to see how they do early in the season. Athan Kaliakmanis will be under center for Minnesota and he did get a little bit of experience last year, throwing for 946 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. The Golden Gophers leading rusher is gone, but Sean Tyler (WMU transfer) is listed as the starter. Minnesota’s receivers should be solid, but can Kaliakmanis get them the ball? I think Minnesota will have another solid season, but they may start slow in the first couple of games. 

Minnesota Golden Gophers Team Facts

  • Minnesota has won each of its last four games against Nebraska.
  • The underdog has covered the spread in four of Minnesota's last five games.
  • Each of Minnesota's last seven games against conference opponents at Huntington Bank Stadium have gone UNDER the total points line.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Team Facts

  • Nebraska has lost five of its last six games against conference opponents.
  • Nebraska has failed to cover the spread in each of its last six season openers.
  • Nebraska has lost the first half in each of its last three games against conference opponents at Huntington Bank Stadium.
  • Four of Nebraska's last five games against non-AP-ranked teams at Huntington Bank Stadium have gone OVER the total points line.

Matchup/League Facts

  • Minnesota ranked T5th among FBS teams for Q2 win percentage last season (.769).
  • Minnesota ranked T5th among FBS teams for Q3 win percentage last season (.692).
  • Nebraska ranked T40th among FBS teams for Q4 points allowed per game last season (5.9).

Pick

Minnesota comes into this game as the favorite to win, but both teams will look pretty different than they did last year. I am excited to see Jeff Sims play at Nebraska, as he had the ability to be an electric player for Georgia Tech when healthy. Nebraska’s defense is definitely a concern and Minnesota should be excited to start the season against it. I do think Minnesota is going to struggle in the first few games and I also think Nebraska will be able to move the ball. I am taking the Cornhuskers with the points here. 

David’s Pick Nebraska +7.5

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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