Beyond the Bets posted preliminary point spreads for 798 Division 1 college football games this season. Is this ridiculously early? Yeah...but it's also June. So let's take it for what it's worth; an early prognostication for entertainment purposes only. (Betting on college football games is illegal in most states, right? I said, Right?)
These oddsmakers put out two separate sets of predictions: one is a record based purely on spreads, the other is a record based on how they think the team will actually perform. Do teams always win games they are supposed to win? Nope. And likewise, teams win games they were picked to lose. And in the case of the Huskers, Nebraska is predicted to lose three Big Ten conference games this season despite being favored to win in all but two games this season. Call that the Northwestern factor, if you will.In BtB's initial odds, the Huskers were only underdogs in two games: at Ohio State (5 point underdog) and at Michigan State (2.5 point underdog). The Huskers are predicted to be favorites against Southern Miss (-13.5), at UCLA (-9), Arkansas State (-24.5), Idaho State (-49), Wisconsin (-4), at Northwestern (-9), Michigan (-3.5), Penn State (-13), Minnesota (-23.5), and at Iowa (-3). Neither prognastication is good enough to put Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game; Michigan is predicted to go 6-2 to win the Big Ten west division. Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska each are picked to be favored in six of eight conference games, which would result in a three way tie at the top of the west division. But in that scenario, Michigan State would be the likely choice to play in Indianapolis on the basis of defeating Ohio State at home to clinch the fourth tie breaker.
If you look elsewhere in BtB's odds, the first thing you'll notice is that nobody in the major conferences is predicted to go undefeated. Florida State (ACC), Oregon (Pac-12), and Southern Cal (Pac-12) are each predicted to go 7-1 in conference play. Two conference loss teams include the ACC's Clemson and Virginia Tech, the Big East's Louisville and South Florida, Oklahoma in the Big XII, the Big Ten's Michigan, Ohio State (ineligible for a bowl berth), and Wisconsin, and the SEC's Georgia, LSU, and Alabama. So does that favor a BCS title game between Florida State and Oregon/Southern Cal?
The Golden Nugget Casino released their point spreads on 111 "games of the year" on Monday, and the news isn't as favorable for Husker fans. Nebraska is favored in only two of five games: UCLA (-6), Wisconsin (-3), Ohio State (+2), Michigan (+2), and Michigan State (+5).
I get these predictions, though I don't agree with them all. Ohio State is certainly an unknown at this point; we don't know how they'll respond to Urban Meyer as head coach. But the game is in Columbus and one could argue that the Buckeyes would have won if Braxton Miller could have stayed in the game. I haven't done my Michigan State preview yet, but I still think Michigan State has too many questions on offense this season to be ranked as highly as they are. So if I were flying to Vegas and looking to put money on games, I'd be very tempted to place a bet on the Huskers beating Michigan State today. I might have a different take on that in a month and a half after I do my Michigan State preview.