Skip to main content
Jalon Daniels of the Kansas Jayhawks scores a touchdown as we share our favorite Illinois vs. Kansas bet.
Jalon Daniels of the Kansas Jayhawks scores a touchdown against the Duke Blue Devils at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Photo by Jay Biggerstaff / Getty Images via AFP.

It's time for Friday night lights, when the Kansas Jayhawks host Illinois for a Week 2 showdown. Read on as we feature our top Illinois-Kansas prediction based on the best college football odds.

While it's only Week 2, there are bowl game on the line when Illinois and Kansas meet in Lawrence Friday night. After both teams notched a bowl berth last year, each win is even more important in their attempt to return to the playoffs in 2023.

Kansas, which went 6-7 a year ago to notch its first bowl berth since 2007, opened the 2023 campaign with a 48-17 win over Missouri State last Friday. The Jayhawks didn't have starting quarterback Jalon Daniels in the opener, but he appears ready to go in Week 2.

Illinois, meanwhile, had to score 23 second-half points to secure a 30-28 win over Toledo. But does that make the Fighting Illini more prepared for what should be a competitive matchup on ESPN2 this week?

Here is our best Illinois vs. Kansas prediction and college football picks (odds via our best college football betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Illinois vs. Kansas prediction: Week 2

Illinois Over 26.5 points (-120 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Not intended for use in MA
Affiliate Disclosure:
Sportsbook Review may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook

Visit our Google News page and click "Follow" (⭐) for the latest odds, picks and news!  

There are a few different ways to go about betting this game with the market underrating Illinois after a difficult battle in Week 1. Toledo won nine games in 2022, so that's a good opening test for Bret Bielema's squad.

As such, there is likely some value on the Illinois spread at +3. There is also reason to believe this team could get off to a strong start, meaning the first quarter or first half angle is worth a look. But I'm attacking the team total because I see multiple avenues for this Over getting home.

Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets

Terms and conditions apply.

Sportsbook Review may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook or casino betting site. 21+. Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly

The market has steamed this total up from an opener of 51.5, so clearly bettors are expecting points in this matchup. That makes sense, as Kansas ranked 21st in the nation with an average of 35.6 points per game last year and proceeded to drop 48 last week without its QB1. With Daniels potentially back in the mix, the Jayhawks should put up plenty of points.

Illinois is expected to engage in a high-scoring game, taking advantage of their opponent's weak defensive history as Kansas's defense ranked 124th last year, conceding an average of 35.6 points per game. Quarterback Luke Altmyer, a transfer from Ole Miss, showcased his potential in his debut for Illinois, amassing 211 passing yards and two touchdowns, in addition to an impressive 69 rushing yards, suggesting he could be a key factor in their offensive efforts.

Tyler Shoemaker's TSI is projecting a 29-27 road win for Illinois in Week 2, for what it's worth.

We anticipate both teams will flirt with 30 points in a high-scoring affair that could ultimately come down to who has the ball last. But let's plan on getting this bet to the window before that final drive even begins.

Though these odds have moved slightly since the time of writing, I'd still take Over 27.5 points for Illinois or Over 13.5 first-half points for the Illini.

Editor's note: Legal sports betting is coming soon to Kentucky – but you can pre-register now! Check out the best sites for Kentucky sports betting and the best Kentucky sportsbook promos! 21+ and present in KY. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.  

Illinois vs. Kansas best odds

DraftKings (-120)

Illinois Over 26.5 pointsIllinois Over 27.5 pointsN/AN/AOver 26.5 points

Only a few of our best sports betting sites have team totals as of this writing, but we are comfortable firing on Over 26.5 points for Illinois. I prefer to pay the juice at DraftKings rather than take the +100 offering on Over 27.5 points at FanDuel because I have trust issues with college kickers.

Our best sports betting apps are also starting to release player prop markets for this game, including touchdown scorer odds. Make sure to check out my Week 2 player props article, as I suggested we take advantage of a bad price on Daniel Hishaw Jr's odds to score in what could be a shootout.

Check out our college football Week 2 predictions, College football Week 2 upset picks, and College football player props for Week 2.

Illinois vs. Kansas odds

Illinois vs. Kansas odds analysis

For a brief moment when lines opened on Sunday morning, Kansas was trading as a slight favorite below a field goal while the total started at 51.5. This is an example of why you should be in front of your odds screen every Sunday with shops releasing lines while most are focused on the NFL.

As the week has gone on, KU has settled as a 3-point favorite after touching as high as -4. The total climbed up to 57 before coming back home at 56 across our best sportsbooks.

Illinois vs. Kansas game info

  • When: Friday, Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium
  • How to watch: ESPN2
  • Weather: 83 degrees, 1% chance of precipitation, 10-mph winds

Illinois-Kansas prediction made 09/06/2023 at 11:45 a.m. ET.

College football betting odds pages

Check out our best college football betting sites:

(21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER)
* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.

Related pages