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Nebraska vs. Illinois odds heading into game week

There’s plenty of controversy around the Cornhuskers program, and a new head coach in Champaign. The Big Ten season opener should be interesting for two teams not expected to compete for a title.

Scott Frost, head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers speaks during the Big Ten Football Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The college football season opener between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Illinois Fighting Illini will not be short on storylines with the head coaches of both programs.

Nebraska is in an awkward position heading into the fourth season under Scott Frost. What looked to be the perfect hire at the time has not paid off with three straight losing seasons as the NCAA begins an investigation into the program for improper use of analysts and consultants as well as conducting workouts that were against the rules during the pandemic.

Nebraska just brought in a new athletic director, so this is a crucial point for Frost and his career with his alma mater. Saturday’s game is as close as a must-win as you’ll get in Week 0 of a college football season for Frost.

On the other side, Bret Bielema is back in the Big Ten West to take over an Illini program that was 17-39 overall including 10-33 in conference play over five seasons. It may take a few years, but the Illini have some buzz they haven’t had in quite some time. Bielema is an entertaining headline for college football fans to take notice of, so it’s good to have him back in the mix. He is in the early stages of building the identity of this team that is very similar to the brand of football played in the Big Ten West.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Nebraska -7 (42% of handle, 49% of bets)
Total: 55 (Over 14% of handle, 35% of bets)
Moneyline: Nebraska -255 (68% of handle, 85% of bets), Illinois +205

Line Movement

Opening Spread: Nebraska -9.5
Opening Total: 56.5

Key Injuries

Nebraska

TE Travis Vokolek is questionable with an unknown injury.
TE Thomas Fidone II is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
LB Will Honas is out for the season with a knee injury.
RB Markese Stepp is probable with a foot injury.

Illinois

DL Jamaal Woods is questionable with a foot injury.
DL Roderick Perry II is questionable with an undisclosed ailment.
WR Marquez Beason is unlikely to be available with a hamstring injury.
OL Jordyn Slaughter is out for the season with an ankle injury.

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