NCAAF Betting: Pick Wisconsin for a Narrow Road Win over Illinois

Posted by Mickey on October 23, 2015 in

The Illinois Fighting Illini (4-2) and the Wisconsin Badgers (5-2) will be fighting in Week 8’s college football lines and odds for no worse than the sole possession of second spot in the Big Ten West, when they clash at Memorial Stadium in a dicey online betting matchup this weekend.

The Badgers are coming off back-to-back conference wins over Nebraska and Purdue, and a win in this showdown will boost their chances of making it to the conference title game. The Fighting Illini, on the other hand, had a setback at Iowa two weeks ago, but a win this weekend will see the program go level with the Badgers at 5-2, which would also return allow them to figure back in the conference title race.

Illinois vs. Wisconsin Game Preview and NCAAF Betting Analysis

Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Date: Saturday, October 24, 2015
Time: 3:30 PM ET
TV: BTN
NCAAF Odds: Wisconsin (-6), Illinois (+6)

The Fighting Illini are off to a nice 4-2 start to the year, which could have been better if not for a 29-20 defeat at Iowa in Week 6. QB Wes Lunt was the focus of the Illini attack as he completed 25-42 for 317 yards including a 53-yard scoring strike to Geronimo Allison. In the end, Allison logged eight receptions for a team-best 148 yards, while RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn finished the game with a leading 67-yard effort on 19 carries. The three can help the Fighting Illini stay perfect at Memorial Stadium if they can take advantage of their bye rest to play spiritedly against the Badgers. It won’t be easy, as they will have to stand the heat against Wisconsin’s total defense that is third-ranked nationally, and is coming off a full display against Purdue, holding the Boilermakers to just 191 total yards en route to in a 24-7 comfortable win over Purdue.

Illinois Fighting Illini II

Key to the programs’ victory will be its defense that has jumped over 70 spots in national rankings from last season in several categories. The defense is ranked in the top-30 nationally in blocked kicks, pass efficiency defense, third down defense, first downs allowed, passing yards allowed, scoring defense and total defense.

Remarkably, the offense could be a bit shorthanded, given that the Fighting Illini’s leading rusher Josh Ferguson (sprained shoulder) is questionable and WR Marchie Murdock is also a doubtful due to thigh injury for the weekend game. Lunt and his weapons will thus need to find a way of exploiting the few resources available in the team.

Illinois Fighting Illini

On the opposite locker room, Wisconsin improved to a 5-2 record following the 24-7 win over visiting Purdue last Saturday. QB Joel Stave had an amazing performance in the win completing 30-of-39 passes for 322 yards with a TD. RB Dare Ogunbowale also impressed with 56 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown whereas Alex Erickson paced the Badgers receiving corps with nine catches for 86 yards.

On the season, Stave has played well except for some bad INTs, Ogunbowale has been quite resourceful, and Robert Wheelwright has been a nice surprise for the Badgers at wide receiver. The three are expected to lead the Badgers offense against Illinois improved defense, as RB Corey Clement continues to be a doubt for the weekend game nursing the injury against Alabama in early September.

Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers defense is good enough on its own to keep Wisconsin in every game left on the schedule. Linebacker Joe Schobert is a man on fire. He is second in the country with 10 sacks, and leads the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits. He is also second on the team in total tackles, and has four forced fumbles and a couple fumble recoveries. Expect the Badgers defense to be mainly channeled through him, as the team seeks to put the clumps on Lunt and Allison, who has posted 40 receptions for 601 yards this season, leading the Big Ten in receptions per game (6.7) and ranking in the top-20 nationally in receptions and receiving yards per game (100.2).

Key Betting Trends

  • The Fighting Illini are 4-2 ATS in their last six games
  • The Badgers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games
  • The Fighting Illini are 4-2 SU in their last six games
  • The Badgers are 5-1 SU in their last six games
  • The Fighting Illini are 0-5 SU in their last five games when playing Wisconsin
  • The Badgers are 5-0 SU in their last five games when playing Illinois
  • The Fighting Illini are 4-2 ATS in their last six games when playing at home against Wisconsin
  • The Badgers are 2-4 ATS in their last six games when playing on the road against Illinois
  • The total has gone OVER in five of Illinois’s last six games when playing at home against Wisconsin
  • The total has gone OVER in five of Wisconsin’s last six games when playing on the road against Illinois

Illinois vs. Wisconsin Game Prediction

Although both programs are dealing with injuries, their solid defenses will play key roles in this contest. Stave is playing well for Wisconsin but Clement has been hurt, so at the very least, he will be rusty on Saturday if he makes it to the field. Meanwhile, the fighting Illini are 4-0 ATS in their last four against the Big Ten, while the Badgers are 0-6 ATS in their last six conference games. With all that, we expect Wisconsin to secure a narrow win, but the Illini should keep the scores close to cover the spread, with the defenses keeping things tight to pay UNDER bettors.