Wisconsin Defense vs. Illinois Offense Leads to ‘Under’

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 1:37 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 1:37 PM UTC

A huge favorite on the NCAA football odds to remain unbeaten this Saturday at Illinois, Wisconsin also looks like a strong bet to reach the conference title game unscathed.

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Free NCAAF Pick: Under 49Best Line Offered: at BetOnline Wisconsin Badgers vs Illinois Fighting Illini

Like a NASCAR driver drafting the leaders ready to slingshot around them at first opportunity, Wisconsin appears to be a shoo-in to at least make it to the last lap of the regular season and reach the Big Ten Championship Game. The Badgers sit No. 5 in both conventional polls, and are whopping 26 point road favorites at Illinois this Saturday where the Fighting Illini are still looking for their first conference win. BetOnline is listing 49 points for the scoreboard mark.

The schedule lays out for Wisconsin to maintain that perfect record, the toughest opponent left being a home game vs. Michigan next month. Unless the Wolverines find a way to move back into the rankings, the Badgers will go through the regular season without facing a top 25 team.


Is Wisconsin’s Defense Poised For Big Game Vs. Impotent Illini Attack?

Wisconsin remained undefeated with a 38-13 win vs. Maryland last Saturday, the final providing just enough room for the Badgers to cover a -24 line and ‘over’ bettors beating a closing 50 point total thanks to a field goal in the final minute of play. Paul Chryst’s crew used a balanced offense, led by Jonathan Taylor’s 126 yards on the ground, and fierce pass rush to turn back the Terps. The biggest injuries facing the Badgers are wide receiver Jazz Peavy, who will miss a 3rd-straight game with a sprained ankle, and linebacker Chris Orr, questionable with an arm injury.

The Fighting Illini head into the contest with a few key injuries of their own, starting with wide receiver Mike Dudek. The junior, who ranks third on the team with 21 catches, is likely to miss his second straight game due to a bum knee, and both linebacker Dele Harding and safety Patrick Nelson are questionable. Illinois has lost its last five, including all four Big Ten tilts, covering the NCAA football odds just one of those games. Illinois ranks near the bottom of the country in several offensive categories, Lovie Smith’s squad averaging 313 yards per game (119th) and under 19 points a game (122nd).


Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Until about 20 years ago, Illinois held a decided advantage in this rivalry. Now, after winning 14 of the last 17 meetings, it’s Wisconsin with the 40-37-7 edge. The last seven have gone to the Badgers, their backers going back to the pay window five times in that stretch. Two of the last three played in Champaign stayed ‘under’ totals in the low-to-upper 50s.

A rainy week should give way to a cloudy, blustery afternoon at Memorial Stadium, temps only climbing to the upper-40s with gusts up to 25 mph. The Badgers have a defense more than capable of blanking the Illini, one reason why my free college football pick is on the ‘under.’

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