Wisconsin vs. Nebraska NCAAF Week 12 Betting Preview: Will Nebraska Earn First Ever Freedom Trophy Matchup?

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Braelon Allen #0 of the Wisconsin Badgers before the game against the Purdue Boilermakers. John Fisher/Getty Images/AFP

The Wisconsin Badgers have had an up-and-down year this season. But the defense has been very consistent this year. Can the Wisconsin defense hold Nebraska in Saturday’s rivalry matchup for the Freedom Trophy?

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Wisconsin Badgers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 12:00 PM EST at Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, NE)

It’s the battle between two teams that fired their coaches during the regular season. It sounds fun, right?

The Wisconsin Badgers are sitting at 5-5 on the year. One more win, and they’ll be bowl eligible. The Badgers had their eyes on a larger prize at the beginning of the season. But with everything going wrong, a consolation prize of a bowl game wouldn’t be so bad.

On the other hand, Nebraska is just 3-7 on the season. They’re not going to make a bowl game or win the Big Ten - West. But they will play for each other in a new rivalry matchup between the two teams. The winner will take home the Freedom Trophy for the year.

Wisconsin has taken home the trophy seven straight seasons against Nebraska since the rivalry began. Here are our betting picks and NCAAF odds breakdown for Saturday’s matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers vs. the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Wisconsin’s Defense Will Come Up Big

The Wisconsin Badgers have scored 28.7 points per game while allowing under 21 points. But the offense has just been average this season. They’re averaging 370.1 yards per game with just 200 passing yards per contest. The run game has been effective, with 170 yards per game. Graham Mertz has thrown 18 touchdowns to eight interceptions.

But Braelon Allen has been the real playmaker for Wisconsin, with 189 attempts on the ground for over 1,000 yards. He’s already totaled ten touchdowns on the season.

Nebraska has allowed 191 yards per game on the ground this season. They’ve also given up 438.1 yards per game this season. The defense has been miserable.

Look for Wisconsin to run all over Nebraska in this rivalry matchup.

Can Nebraska Score Enough?

The Cornhuskers have been dreadful offensively. It’s interesting because the roster is filled with talented transfers who just wanted a more significant role. Casey Thompson has thrown 12 touchdowns but also has ten interceptions on the year for Nebraska. He came from Texas and was supposed to put Nebraska back on the map.

In his defense, the offensive line has been terrible. The pass protection is one of the worst in college football, and that won’t work in Big Ten play.

Nebraska’s got talent at running back, with Anthony Grant rushing 188 times for 880 yards. But again, the offensive line hasn’t helped Grant as much as he would’ve liked this season.

Wisconsin’s got excellent coverage. Up front, the Badgers can pressure the quarterback and have done well, stuffing run lanes in the run game. The Badgers have allowed 307.8 yards per game this season, with only 107.6 yards on the ground.

Thompson's Challenge

It’s going to be hard for Nebraska to score points. Thompson will be forced to throw some bad balls and likely throw a couple of interceptions in the afternoon. He doesn’t make the best decisions and only has a 55.1 QBR.

On top of that, Thompson is listed as day-to-day with an elbow injury. So he won’t even be 100% when or if he does play.

The Final Verdict

Wisconsin has rushed for about 170 yards per game, while Nebraska has allowed 191 yards per game on the ground this season. Wisconsin should have its way on the ground against Nebraska, and that should dictate this game.

Mertz has thrown eight interceptions this season. The key for Wisconsin will be to minimize turnovers. If Wisconsin can force Nebraska into long drives, the Cornhuskers likely won’t convert.

Wisconsin’s defense is way too good and won’t allow Nebraska to go the entire field length with their defense.

On the other hand, Wisconsin’s run game should be able to move the ball down the field for Wisconsin. The Badgers should also win the turnover battle with how well their defense has played. Thompson makes many mistakes on a game-to-game basis and already has averaged an interception per game.

Our Betting Pick

Therefore, I’ll rock with Wisconsin against the spread on the road. Nebraska has lost their last four games and probably didn’t even deserve to win the game against Rutgers, which was their final win of the season.

Nebraska has scored just 25 points in their last three games combined and won’t have it any easier against Wisconsin’s defense. I’ve got Wisconsin winning by at least two touchdowns.

NCAAF Pick: Wisconsin -13 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Wisconsin -13 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.