College Football Picks: Bet a Superior Illinois "D" Over Wisconsin

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 3:38 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 3:38 PM GMT

Our college football handicapper provides us with an early lean on Saturday’s game between Wisconsin vs. Illinois. Go inside to read this insightful piece and our college football pick.

Conference Crossroads Game for Badgers and Illini
Illinois (4-2) will host Wisconsin (5-2) in a Big Ten battle on Saturday. The opening kickoff at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois is slated for 3:30 PM ET. According to current (10/19) college football odds at Heritage, Wisconsin is a 7 point favorite in this game, and there wasn’t a posted total at the time of writing. Wisconsin has won the last five encounters between these conference rivals, and the last time Illinois came out on top was in 2007 during a 31-26 home triumph.

 

Dominating Defense
Wisconsin began the year with a 35-17 loss to currently ranked #8 Alabama, and they allowed the Crimson Tide offense to roll up 502 yards. Since that time, they’ve allowed only a combined 41 points in their last six games, and opponents are averaging a paltry 234.0 yards of total offense per contest during that stretch. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin offense isn’t quite as impressive. During their last five outings, the Badgers are averaging a rather lackluster 21.8 points per game. However, during their current two game win streak against Nebraska and Purdue, they’ve averaged a more than respectable 443.5 yards per contest.

 

Protecting the Home Field
Illinois has gone a perfect 4-0 at home this season. As a matter of fact, dating back to last season, they’ve won five in a row at Memorial Stadium, and are 9-2 in its last 11 overall at home. It must be noted they barely escaped in their last two wins at home over Nebraska 14-13 and Middle Tennessee State 29-27. They scored on a 10 yard fourth down touchdown pass with 0:10 left to beat Nebraska, and Middle Tennessee State missed a potential 41 yard winning field goal on the last play of the game. Nonetheless, winning breeds confidence, and that’s a dangerous attribute to possess for a conference home underdog. The Illinois defense has improved drastically from a year ago. During their four home games this season, they’ve allowed just 10.9 points and 272.3 yards per contest.

 

Final Analysis
This is a very tough call, and especially so at such an early juncture. With all being considered, I’ll have a very slight lean toward the home underdog for one of my college football picks.

College Football Pick: Illinois +7 at Heritage

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