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Nebraska vs. Minnesota odds: Underdog Cornhuskers taking heavy lean in Matt Rhule’s debut

Week 1 in college football kicks off with 11 games tonight, and the one where the underdog is taking the most action in terms of tickets on the moneyline is Nebraska in Coach Matt Rhule’s Cornhuskers debut as they are priced +210 at Minnesota – the lone Power 5 conference game tonight. In fact, #GBR is taking the second-most underdog action of ANY Week 1 game on the moneyline via one major US book, behind only Florida State +110 vs. LSU on Sunday night.

The last time we saw Rhule in college football, he had completed a stunning turnaround at Baylor. That program was a scandal-ridden mess when he arrived ahead of the 2017 season. The Bears were 1-11 in Rhule’s first season but finished as Big 12 champions and with an 11-3 record in 2019, leading the Carolina Panthers to hire Rhule as their head coach. That went bust, although it really wasn’t on Rhule that the franchise couldn’t find a quarterback during his tenure.

Matt Rhule returns to college football tonight.

Nebraska had fallen on really hard times under former coach and star quarterback Scott Frost with five straight seasons of five wins or fewer. For what it’s worth, Rhule covered eight of his final nine games as an underdog at Baylor and the Huskers are 7-1 ATS in their past eight as road underdogs. NU is a 7-point dog.

Georgia Tech transfer Jeff Sims will be Rhule’s Week 1 starting QB. He started a total of 23 games with the Yellow Jackets, accounting for more than 5,500 yards of total offense and 41 total TDs. Sims looks to lead Nebraska to its first season-opening win vs. a Power 5 opponent since knocking off No. 24 Oklahoma to begin 2003. The Huskers are seeking a road win in a season opener for the first time since 1999 at Iowa. They have only opened on the road or a neutral site three times this century and lost all three.

Minnesota has become a very good program and Big Ten West contender under PJ Fleck, and the #Gophers have won nine games (and a bowl) each of the past two seasons. They are expected to take a bit of a step back this year, though, after losing arguably the best quarterback in school history in Tanner Morgan and one of the best running backs in Mohamed Ibrahim, who ranks first in school history with 4,668 yards and 53 rushing touchdowns (sixth in Big Ten history).

Redshirt sophomore Athan Kaliakmanis will take over under center. Last year, he started five of the 11 games he played in and compiled a record of 3-2 while completing 60-of-111 yards for 946 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for one score.

#SkiUMah is 4-2 in season openers under Fleck but 0-2 against Power 5 schools and 1-5 in Big Ten home openers with that win in 2019 vs. Illinois. The Gophers have won four straight against the Cornhuskers (3-1 ATS).

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