NCAA Football Week 1 Picks: Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Saturday, 8/30/14, N/A
Opening Point Spread:  Nebraska -24
Current Betting Line:  Nebraska -24
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

Nebraska Cornhuskers RB Ameer Abdullah will be one of the best players in the country this season
Nebraska Cornhuskers RB Ameer Abdullah will be one of the best players in the country this season

Florida Atlantic has fallen in defeat in eight of its last nine road openers, with each setback coming by an average of 33 points in that situation, which is important to consider when making your NCAA football picks in Week 1.  The Owls welcome back 11 overall starters under first year head coach Charlie Partridge, who spent his last six years working for Bret Bielema at Arkansas and Wisconsin.  The program suffered a 49-3 setback in its only previous visit to Lincoln in 2009.  Florida Atlantic is a money-making 12-1 ATS in its last 13 road games.

The Owls should have some success moving the football this season, as dual-threat quarterback Jaquez Johnson is back on campus—gaining over 2,600 yards of total offense in 2013.  Florida Atlantic may struggle to protect him in the early going, as the line returns only 33 starts—needing to replace the center and left tackle positions.  On the other side of the football, the team will have one of the best secondaries in Conference-USA, with senior cornerback D’Joun Smith being the main player to watch.

Nebraska has joined Alabama and Oregon as one of three schools that have won at least nine games in each of the past six seasons, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA football odds page.  The Cornhuskers have a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in running back Ameer Abdullah, who rushed for a Big Ten Conference-leading 1,690 yards last season.  He enters the 2014 campaign as the nation’s active career leader in all-purpose yards and his 17 career 100-yard rushing games are also the most among returning players.  Nebraska is 11-10 ATS as home favorites over the last three seasons.

The Cornhuskers are worthy double-digit favorites in this affair, considering they haven’t dropped a home opener since 1985.  Nebraska also doesn’t have to worry about a lookahead spot in this matchup, as it will host McNeese State in Week 2 before hitting the road against Fresno State on Sept. 13.  Defensively, the main player to watch is end Randy Gregory, who led the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks.

Sports bettors will likely back the Cornhuskers due to their 6-4 ATS mark versus non-conference opponents in their last 10 opportunities.

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