Fade Tar Heels & Pick Illinois As Home Dog Over North Carolina

Illinois Fighting Illini   Players Entering The Football Field

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, September 10, 2016 5:36 PM GMT

Our college football consultant discusses Saturday’s game between North Carolina and Illinois. Be sure to read this insightful betting preview article which concludes with a college football pick.

Intriguing ACC Versus Big Ten Matchup
Illinois (1-0) will host North Carolina (0-1) on Saturday in a non-conference game between “power 5 conference” schools. The opening kickoff at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois is slated for 7:30 PM ET. Illinois will be out to avenge an embarrassing 48-14 blowout loss last year at North Carolina.

 

Impressive Debut at Illinois for Lovie Smith
The Lovie Smith era began last Saturday for Illinois, and quite frankly it couldn’t have been scripted any better. The former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach returned to college football for the first time since 1995. Despite facing a FCS opponent (Murray St.), Illinois was dominant in all aspects during their 49-point rout. They outgained Murray State 515-165, and owned a +3 turnover margin.

Fifth year senior quarterback Wes Lunt was 15-21 for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Illinois rushing attack amassed 287 yards, and it included a pair of 56-yard touchdown runs by Kendrick Foster. The defense stifled the Racers ground game, evidenced by their -10 rushing yards. For a program that’s failed to have a winning season since 2011, this performance was a huge confidence booster.

 

Disappointing Season Opener for Tar Heels
North Carolina was considered a sleeper by many pundits to be a potential college football playoff team. Nevertheless, they certainly didn’t help their cause in a season opening 33-24 loss to Georgia. Granted, they were facing a nationally ranked opponent, and although their performance wouldn’t be considered horrible, it was certainly discouraging with all things being accounted for.

Defensively, North Carolina knew it had to improve from a season ago with its ability to stop the run. Nonetheless, that enigma reared its ugly head once again, evidenced by Georgia racking up 289 yards on the ground, and included Nick Chubb going for 222 yards all on his own. The potentially dynamic Tar Heels offense was held to a substandard 315 total yards. North Carolina also exhibited an apparent lack of discipline, proven by their 13 penalties which totaled 101 yards.

 

College Football Betting Angle and Pick
At the time of this writing, college football betting odds at Heritage shows North Carolina installed as a 9.0-point road favorite. I’ve long contended that Heritage is one of the sharpest sportsbooks of them all. The Tar Heels opened their season last Saturday with a loss against Georgia. Conversely, Illinois trounced Murray State 52-3 in their opening game. The collection of this statistical data qualifies for an exceedingly successful college football wagering system, and it’s an integral part why I’m advising taking the home underdog for one of my college football tips this week.

Any non-conference home team (Illinois) that’s +3.0 to +10.0, playing in game 2 of their season, and they’re coming off a non-conference win in which they scored 22 points or more, versus an opponent (North Carolina) also playing in game 2 of their season, resulted in those home underdogs going 42-11 ATS (79.2%) since 1983.

Illinois is good enough to stay within this generous number at home. Lovie Smith was a tremendous hire by Illinois, and he’s seemed to at least temporarily rejuvenate the football program and fan base. That’s precisely why one of my college football week 2 predictions calls for a potential upset. In any event, we’ll accept the points as an added bonus and increased betting value.

College Football Pick: Illinois +9.0 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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