Surging Penn State is the College Football Pick Over Illinois

David Lawrence

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 1:18 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015 1:18 PM GMT

The Illinois Fighting Illini & Penn State Nittany Lions are both trying to move up in the Big Ten. They’re actually in similar positions in terms of their divisions. Check our college pick inside.

Momentum
The Illini were shut down by Wisconsin’s defense at home last Saturday, 24-13. It was the second time this season Illinois has scored 14 points or fewer in a conference home game. The offense has just not been able to find much of any good consistency. Wes Lunt, who transferred from Oklahoma State in the belief that he’d get more playing time, has not been able to spark the offense. Interim head coach Bill Cubit was the team’s offensive coordinator before head coach Tim Beckman was fired in the days before the season. He has not been able to find answers, and he’ll need to in this game.

Penn State is coming off a 31-30 cliffhanger win over Maryland. The back-and-forth game featured breakdowns by the Nittany Lions’ defense, but their offense – which is playing a lot better than it did at any point in September – was continuously able to make plays in response to Maryland’s various scoring drives. If Christian Hackenberg can continue to be a clutch performer, Penn State will have a chance to surprise some people down the stretch.

 

Line Moves
The college football odds started with Penn State as a six-point favorite, but the line has moved up to 6.5 points for the Nittany Lions. There is a simple belief that Penn State can score and Illinois can’t. Don’t overthink this.

 

Notable Injuries
Illinois has running back Josh Ferguson listed as being questionable for this game with a shoulder injury.

Defensive back Patrick Nelson is out for the season with an undisclosed condition. Tight end Tyler White is out indefinitely with a concussion. Tight end Caleb Reams is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Wide receiver Marchie Murdock is questionable with a thigh injury. Defensive lineman Brandon Roberts is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Defensive lineman Jamal Milan is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Linebacker Sean Adesanya is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Tight end Tim Clary is out indefinitely with a hand injury. Offensive lineman Zach Heath’s status is unknown.

Penn State has linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White out for the season with a knee injury. Tight end Kyle Carter is out indefinitely with an undisclosed condition. Offensive lineman Andrew Nelson is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

 

Handicapping The Game
Both teams face uphill battles in the Big Ten but Illinois is in the weaker West while Penn State is in the stronger East. They will both have a tough time finishing in the top three of their respective divisions, but because the East is tougher, Penn State – despite having a better record than the Illini – is the team more likely to lose multiple games in November. Therefore, before November starts, it’s important for both teams – not just Illinois – to pick up a win and improve their postseason prospects. Illinois just wants to get to a bowl, while Penn State wants to get a good bowl berth.  

The Illini have stalled and run out of ideas. Penn State seems to be making real improvements and is playing at home. Take the Nittany Lions with your college football picks.

College Football Pick: Penn State -6 at Pinnacle

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2823931, "sportsbooksIds":[93,1096,19,92,238,349], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

comment here