Valuable College Football Pick on Illinois' Efficent Offense Getting +7 vs Nebraska

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, October 1, 2015 2:21 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 2:21 PM UTC

Our college football analyst provides us with a betting preview on Saturday’s game between Nebraska and Illinois. Join us in reading this insightful piece which concludes with a point spread pick.

Big Ten Opener Between “The Illini” and Huskers
Illinois (3-1) will host Nebraska (2-2) on Saturday in what will be the Big Ten opener for both teams. The opening kickoff at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois is slated for 3:30 PM ET. According to current College Football Odds, and depending on the betting platform of your choice, Nebraska is either a 6.5 or 7.0 point favorite. Nebraska has won and covered on both occasions they faced Illinois since joining the Big Ten. However, both of those games took place in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers prevailed easily by scores of 39-19 (2013) and 45-14 (2014).


Tough Non-Conference Slate for Nebraska
Nebraska came out of the non-conference portion of their schedule with a somewhat disappointing 2-2 record. Their two wins came over South Alabama and Southern Miss. The latter of which was a bit too close for comfort. They were defeated at home by BYU in their season opener courtesy of a “Hail Mary” pass on the last play of the game. Their furious comeback attempt fell short during a road loss to the Miami Hurricanes. With the exception of the South Alabama game, the other three contests were all decided by 8 points or less. The Cornhuskers have gone 1-5 ATS in their last six games as an away favorite of 10.0 or less, and lost three of those contests outright.


Marked Improvement for Illinois
Illinois has began the season on an encouraging note by winning three of their first four games, and are 3-0 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. Granted the level of competition they’ve faced hasn’t been overly impressive, but for a program that’s gone through struggles in recent years, their start to 2015 is a huge positive nonetheless. The aspect of their game which has seemed to improve the most has been on the defensive side of the ball. During their three home wins (Kent State, Western Illinois, & Middle Tennessee State) they held opponents to 9.7 points, 65.0 yards rushing, and 252.3 total yards per game. This Saturday will be their sternest home test to date, and it will be interesting to see if they’re up to the challenge.


Final Analysis
The Illinois offense has performed efficiently in their first four contests, averaging 34.2 points and 404.7 total yards per game. Their (Illinois) aforementioned defense will have a huge task on their hands come Saturday. Nebraska has averaged 36.2 points and 519 total yards per game. However, Nebraska’s defense hasn’t exactly been stout thus far, evidenced by them allowing 26.5 points and 453 total yards per contest.

There’s no question in my mind that Illinois will be able to move the ball with a high degree of success against a suspect Nebraska defense. I don’t believe the Illinois defense will be nowhere near as dominant as they’ve been in their first three home games in 2015, but they’ll get enough stops to warrant home underdog value. I’m leaning toward Illinois in this contest for one of my early College Football Picks.

College Football Pick: Play on Illinois +7.0 (-115) at The Greek

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