Holiday Bowl Predictions: Nebraska vs. Washington Odds and Picks
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 12/28/2010
Bowl executives generally try avoiding rematches in bowl games. Nebraska vs. Washington in the Holiday Bowl may be exactly the reason why. Just over three months after the Cornhuskers thumped Washington, 56-21, in Seattle, the two teams are reunited Dec. 30 in the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego at 10 p.m. EST.
Nebraska is ranked No. 17 and is 10-3 on the season. Washington is unranked and 6-6. Nebraska is a two-touchdown favorite. The Holiday Bowl has generally been an entertaining shootout between teams on the cusp of BCS bowl games. Nebraska surely was on the cusp of a BCS bowl game; it had a 17-0 lead over Oklahoma in the first half of the Big 12 title game. It would lose a heartbreaker, 23-20, in its final Big 12 game as Nebraska heads to the Big Ten next season.
Washington was not nearly as close to the BCS. It was actually closer to no bowl game after a 3-6 start. The Huskies were even closer to missing out on a bowl game with a 5-6 record and trailing rival Washington State late in the game. But quarterback Jake Locker came through like he has most of the year with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse with under a minute to play to help Washington become bowl eligible for the first time since 2002. Seven years without becoming bowl eligible, in an era of almost anybody going to bowl games, speaks volumes about how far the program has fallen.
Many thought this was the year the Huskies would break through. Locker was projected as a top overall NFL draft pick. But injuries and a poor supporting cast exposed Locker. Now Stanford’s Andrew Luck seems to have pole position in terms of NFL draft positioning.
The Holiday Bowl remains the classic player vs. team showdown. It will come down to Locker verse the Black shirt defense, and that is likely why the point spread is the third-highest of the bowl season. Even with Locker at quarterback the Huskies still rank 77th in the nation in passing offense and 93rd in scoring offense (22 points per game). Locker will be facing the nation’s seventh best pass defense and eighth best overall defense.
In the regular-season meeting Nebraska outgained Washington, 535-246. Locker was a horrific 4-for-20 for 71 yards and two interceptions. The Cornhuskers had three different rushers top 100 yards in that game, including quarterback Taylor Martinez. The game was over by halftime.
The only teams to defeat Nebraska this year did it strictly with defense. Texas shutdown Martinez in a 20-13 loss, Texas A&M won an offensive struggle 9-6 in College Station and Oklahoma won in the Big 12 title game after shutting out Nebraska in the second half. In shootouts the Cornhuskers have always found a way to come out on top. Washington does not want to get into a shootout with Nebraska, but they may think that is their only chance.
You could make a momentum case for Washington. Nebraska is coming off a deflating meltdown loss to Oklahoma while Washington is riding a three-game winning streak into the Holiday Bowl. But looking at Washington’s six wins is also as condemning as looking at its six losses. Washington needed to pull out four games in the final minute of regulation or overtime. The Huskies only convincing win of the season was a 24-7 decision against UCLA and a 41-20 win over Syracuse.
Nebraska vs. Washington Holiday Bowl Odds
Nebraska opened as heavy 13-point favorites, according to college football odds, but even heavier action on the Cornhuskers moved the line up to 14 points where it remains. The total of 52.5 has remained steady. College football bowl odds are courtesy of Sportsbook.com.
Holiday Bowl Predictions and Betting Picks
The Huskies and Huskers: they sound alike but the similarities end there. Nebraska creates matchup nightmares all over the football field for Washington. Locker’s draft stock, already hurting after a subpar season, could be dealt a fatal blow with another thrashing at the hands of the Nebraska defense. Washington has motivation and momentum. Nebraska has the talent. Add in the Big 12 advantage over the Pac-10 and even giving two touchdowns, the play here is Nebraska giving the points.
Most Recent College Football Handicapping
- Potential College Football Start Options During Covid-19 Pandemic
- 2020 Heisman Trophy Predictions
- National Championship Game Picks for Clemson vs. LSU
- Strong Underdogs for Bowl Game Betting: Possible Moneyline Paydays
- Expert College Bowl Game Handicapping: Coaching Uncertainty
- NCAA Bowl Game Wagering: Toughest Games to Handicap
- College Bowl Game Betting Advice: Biggest Mismatches
- NCAA Football Betting Odds: Championship Week Line Movements & Last-Minute News
- Pac 12 Championship Game Picks: Oregon vs. Utah
- College Football Betting Advice: Wagering on Championship Week Games