Against The Spread College Football Picks - Illinois vs Michigan

Illinois Illini

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 7:16 PM UTC

Big Ten rivals collide when undefeated Michigan welcomes Illinois to the Big House on Saturday afternoon. Let’s review the college football odds on this one and cash a ticket.


Swinger’s 2017 College Football Record: 6-8

Illinois (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Michigan (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS)

Illinois crushed lightly regarded Murry State 52-3 in its home opener but then dropped their next four straight. However last week they got back into the win column with an impressive 24-7 victory over Rutgers. The college football odds makers installed the visiting Illini as four-point road favorites and fortunately for all those who backed them in their college football picks, their defense came to play and sophomore QB Chayce Crouch may have won himself the starting job in replacement of senior Wes Lunt who missed last week’s game with a back injury.

And as for their opponents, what more can you say about the Michigan Wolverines that hasn’t been said already? Yes, they were my preseason dark horse to win the NCAAF championship this season but even I am stunned by their numbers at the midway point. Michigan leads the nation in scoring defense (10.3 points per game), total defensive yards allowed (212.8 yards per game) and passing defense (113.7) while ranked ninth in rushing defense (99.2). Oh, and they rank 2nd in the nation in points scored (50.0 PPG) trailing only Louisville.

So the kneejerk reaction will be to note that Illinois defeated a common opponent in Rutgers 24-7 last week while Michigan decimated the Scarlet Knights by a whopping 78-0 and tied a school record with nine TD’s in one game. Does that mean that Illinois is only 17 points better than Rutgers and Michigan is 78 points better so the Wolverines should be 61 point favorites over the Illini? Well, I have no doubt that if the oddsmakers hung that number there would be at least a few squares, and Michigan diehards, who would lay it.

The number I hung on this one without even looking at the line was Michigan -31. However, I cannot say I’m surprised when I look at the 36 ½ point head start some of the offshore sportsbooks are giving the Illini. Michigan is coming off their bye week and ready to take on a conference foe. But let’s not forget that Illinois played the undefeated Cornhuskers tough before falling 31-16 a few weeks ago in Nebraska as 20-point road dogs.

These teams have not played in several years and I have no doubt Illinois will fall to the most potent team in the land but they do have some solid defenders in linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. and defensive ends Carroll Phillips and Dawuane Smoot. The Illini have covered both games on the highway this season and I believe they can hang within five TD’s of a conference rival, even one as fierce as Michigan.

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Free College Football Pick: Illinois +36 ½ Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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