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Illinois Football Predictions

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Things couldn’t have gone much worse last year for Illinois. In the first season under head coach Tim Beckman, the Illini went 2-10 overall and were winless in Big Ten play at 0-8. Of their eight conference losses, seven came by at least two touchdowns.

Illinois finished in the bottom two of seven of the eight major offensive and defensive categories. Offensively they were about as bad as you can get. With eight starters back on offense you would expect to see improvement, but there’s just not many playmakers on that side of the ball.

Whether or not this team can return to being a competitive football team, will depend on the play of senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. He took a major step in the wrong direction after a very impressive sophomore season in 2011.

Even if the offense is able to get things figured out, it might not be enough to keep Illinois out of the basement in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini have just four starters returning to a defense that allowed 32.1 ppg and 388 yards of total offense.

Last Season
Big Ten (Leaders)
Record
ATS Record
Over/Under
Points For
Points Against
6th
2-10
3-9
6-5
16.7
32.1
Key Numbers for 2013
Returning Starters
Returning to Offense
Returning to Defense
4 Year Recruiting Rank
Strength of Schedule
12
8
4
1.38
53rd
11th
Head Coach Tim Beckman
Overall
ATS
Home
Home ATS
Road
Road ATS
32-20
26-25-0
16-8
12-12-0
14-10
14-10-0
Bowl Games
Bowl Games ATS
Off of a Bye
Off of a Bye ATS
Off of a Loss
Off of a Loss ATS
1-2
0-3
0-0
0-0
11-6
10-7-0
2013 Schedule
2013 Illinois Fighting Illini Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
8/31 Southern Illinois
-24.5
1
9/7 Cincinnati
+3.5
0.40
9/14 Washington*
+10
0.23
9/28 Miami (OH)
-10
0.77
10/5 @ Nebraska
+23
0.00
10/19 Wisconsin
+13
0.18
10/26 Michigan State
+15
0.00
11/2 @ Penn State
+19
0.00
11/9 @ Indiana
+8
0.25
11/16 Ohio State
+23
0.00
11/23 @Purdue
+8.5
0.29
11/30 Northwestern
+13
0.18
Estimated Wins: 3.30

Looking at the schedule for the upcoming season, I expect Illinois to be favored in just two games all season. Both of which come at home during the non-conference portion of the schedule.

Looking at the conference schedule, there’s a very realistic chance that the Fighting Illini will go two straight seasons without a win. All four of their home games inside Big Ten play come against some of the top teams in Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State and Northwestern.

The only two games where Illinois figures to have a fighting chance at getting a conference win are on the road against Indiana and Purdue, both of which they are expected to be more than a touchdown underdog.

All signs point to another long year for Illinois fans and the likely firing of Beckman at the end of the season.

Odds
Regular Season Win Total
Big Ten Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
3.5
50 to 1
1000 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Season Predictions

Regardless of how good a coach Beckman may be if he can the right players into his systems, I just don’t think he’s going to have enough time to see this thing out. The first person to get blamed is the head coach and if Illinois goes back-to-back seasons without a conference win, the school really doesn’t have any other choice but to kick him to the curb.

You have to believe that Scheelhaase will be a bigger factor offensively if he can stay healthy. The kid was simply too good in his first two years to think he completely lost it. The problem is he doesn’t have the explosive players around him to excel. On top of that the defense will likely be taking a step backwards, which will only put that much more pressure on the offense to produce.

Typically when a team under-performs as badly as the Illini did in 2012, they are a strong candidate to be a solid play against the spread. I don’t think there’s any doubt the public will be quick to fade this team, which should force oddsmakers to over-adjust the lines in Illinois’ favor.

2013 Projections
Big Ten (Leaders)
Big Ten Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
6th
0-8
2-10
Under (3.5)
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About the Author: Jimmy Boyd is known for his consistency. He's a proven winner in college and pro football, college and pro basketball and pro baseball. He finished as the No. 1 ranked MLB handicapper in 2007 by earning $1,000/game bettors $50,050. He also finished as the No. 1 ranked basketball handicapper in the 2008-09 season, profiting $1,000/game bettors 38,530. His basketball plays have banked $1,000/game bettors nearly $80,000 the last five years. Check out Jimmy's premium picks for tonight!
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