Last year, the Fresno State Bulldogs and Illinois Fighting Illini
engaged in a classic NCAA football betting affair which resulted in a 53-52
triumph for the visiting Dogs. The pressure is off for both teams, as this is merely a prep game for a bowl game. However, both are looking to boost their resumes to give themselves a more lucrative trip this December or January.
Running Backs the Key to Victory
There haven't been many meetings this year of 1,000-yard running backs,
but on Friday night, we get to see two of the best at their trades.
Illinois' RB Mikel LeShoure has already rumbled for 1,380 yards and 13
TDs this year, and he is coming off of the game of his life against the
Northwestern Wildcats. LeShoure ripped off 330 yards on the ground with two TDs
at Wrigley Field to lead the way for the Illini, and he now has three straight
games with at least 120 yards under his belt. LeShoure has also scored on the
ground nine times in his last four overall.
For Fresno State, RB Robbie Rouse is a bit more hit and miss than
LeShoure is, but when he hits, Rouse is a monster. Rouse had back to back games
of at least 215 yards to start the month of November, doing the deed against
both the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Nevada Wolf Pack. He already has 1,097
yards and 10 scores on the campaign, but he is dealing with a rib injury
suffered last week that might keep him out of action.
Last season when these teams met, Illinois ran for 331 yards behind 184
yards for LeShoure, while Fresno State ran for 233 yards.
Sloppy 'D' Leaves Question Marks for
The Illini went their first eight games of the season without letting a
team score more than 26 points against them, including games against three Top
15 opponents. However, in three games against Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota
Golden Gophers, and Northwestern Wildcats, Illinois conceded 27 or more points
and averaged a whopping 44.0 PPG against.
Things haven't been much better for the Bulldogs either. When they
lose, they certainly know how to do it. In four losses this year, Fresno State
has allowed 55, 49, 35, and 51 points respectively, an average of 47.5 PPG. In
seven wins, that scoring average is just 19.6 PPG. It is fairly clear that one
of the WAC's best teams badly needs to make some sense out of its defense to
have any hope of stopping the Illini in this one on Friday night.
NCAA Football Odds in Favor of Illini
Illinois might only be 7-15 ATS in its last 22 games played on grass,
but it has covered the college football betting lines in seven of its last
The Bulldogs are in bad shape at home, going just 6-22-1 to destroy
NCAA football bettors. They are familiar with playing on Friday night football
as well, but they are just 5-16 ATS in their last 21 when playing on the eve of
The Final Verdict
We have to go with the Illini in this one. They have had two weeks to
prepare for this showdown, and you can bet that Head Coach Ron Zook has been
preaching to his men about getting payback for last year's defeat to end the
Illinois wants to hit the ground running for its bowl preparations, and
the best way to do that is by going all the way to the West Coast and taking
care of Fresno State. Too much LeShoure. Back the Illini at minus six with the