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Nebraska football vs. Illinois: Odds, how to watch, and a prediction



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football has a huge game this week against Illinois and here’s a look at the odds, how to watch, and a prediction.

It will be a quick turnaround for Nebraska football as the Huskers will take on Illinois on Friday night.

This will be the second year in a row that Nebraska football is playing a Friday night. Last year, Nebraska pulled off a one-point road win over Rutgers.

This time around, it will be a fellow Big Ten West opponent in Illinois. Both teams are struggling and are fresh off bad losses. Michigan beat Nebraska by 38, while Purdue knocked off Illinois 44-19.

Illinois won with an effective ground game and a great defense in 2022. But this season, the defense has fallen off a cliff and allows 419 yards per game. Illinois also ranks 103rd in scoring defense (30.6 points allowed).

The ground game hasn’t worked as well for Illinois either. Running back Reggie Love has been effective, when healthy, but he was out last week and is questionable for Nebraska. Luke Altmyer, the new starting quarterback, has struggled with turnovers too, throwing five touchdowns compared to seven interceptions.

Nebraska football and Illinois are both 0-2 in the Big Ten and really need a win. Looking ahead to Friday’s game, here are the odds, how to watch, as well as a prediction against the spread.

Nebraska vs. Illinois odds

According to DraftKings, Nebraska is a 3.5-point underdog going into Champaign on Friday night. The Fighting Illini have a money line of -166, while it’s +140 for Nebraska. The over/under is 43.5.

Nebraska vs. Illinois How to watch

Date: Oct. 6
Game Time: 8:00 PM EST
Venue: Memorial Stadium (Illinois)
How to Watch: Fox Sports 1 | Fox Sports App| Fubo TV

Nebraska football vs. Illinois prediction

Matt Rhule has talked about how important this game is. He called last week’s loss to Michigan and the performance, “Ridiculous.”

Nebraska has better talent than it showed last Saturday. Heinrich Haarberg is the guy I’m expecting to start at quarterback and winning this game requires getting him going on the ground. I’d keep an eye out for Jeff Sims too. Rhule still won’t commit to Haarberg as QB1 and there’s a reason for that.

Illinois has been a similar team. It has struggled to protect the ball, although its defense has been much worse. than Nebraska. If Reggie Love is back that will help but Altmyer will have a big role running the ball too.

This game feels like it will come down to which team is able to run the football and protect it. Nebraska football has the better defense and I believe the better running game.

Illinois has the edge at quarterback, maybe at least from a talent perspective, but the Huskers get a takeaway or two to win the turnover battle, as well as the game.

Nebraska 20, Illinois 17

(Season record: Straight up: 5-0, against the spread: 2-3)


Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska