The Northwestern Wildcats (2-9) travel to Champaign this weekend for a BIG 10 West battle with the Illinois Fighting Illini (6-5). Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on November 30th at Memorial Stadium and the game will be televised on FS1.
Taking a look at the Week 14 college football odds, Illinois opened as a 11-point home favorite earlier this week. The spread has come down by three full points after early betting, as the Fighting Illini are currently available at -8. The total for the game is sitting at 43 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Illinois vs Northwestern
Northwestern couldn’t find a way to win their second game in a row last weekend, falling 38-22 at home against #9 overall Minnesota to drop to just 2-9 on the season overall. The Wildcats gave up two touchdowns in the first quarter and never recovered, allowing the Golden Gophers to tack on 24 more points en route to a double-digit defeat. QB Andrew Marty went 8/10 for 95 passing yards and a touchdown through the air while also leading the way on the ground with 52 rushing yards and two scores. Riley Lees also chipped in, hauling in three catches for 53 yards. Overall, Northwestern gained just over 200 total yards of offense and found the end zone three times in the loss.
The Wildcats had another rough outing on the other side of the ball against Minnesota, surrendering over 400 total yards of offense and five touchdowns. Northwestern had no answer for Golden Gophers WR Rashod Bateman, as he torched the secondary for 78 receiving yards and three touchdowns on just seven catches.
Illinois saw their four game winning streak come to an end last weekend after losing 19-10 on the road against #19 overall Iowa to drop to 6-5 on the season overall. The Fighting Illini trailed 13-7 at the half and couldn’t find a way to pull off a comeback over the final two quarters, scoring just a single field goal. QB Brandon Peters wasn’t at his best through the air, throwing two interceptions and going 16/31 for 125 passing yards and just one touchdown. However, Peters did lead the way on the ground, rushing for 76 yards on ten carries. Donny Navarro was on the receiving end of the only touchdown of the game for the offense, finding the end zone on one of his three catches for 36 yards. As a whole, Illinois generated close to 350 total yards of offense against a rock-solid Hawkeyes defense.
The Fighting Illini were pretty solid defensively against Iowa, giving up under 400 total yards of offense and just one touchdown. Illinois was especially impressive defending against the run, allowing only 79 rushing yards the entire game.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Illinois -8
I’m definitely leaning towards the Fighting Illini against the spread in this BIG 10 battle, as Northwestern is currently ranked near the bottom of most offensive categories nationwide. The Wildcats have scored 22 points or less in eight of their last nine games and are just 2-7-2 against the spread through their first eleven games. Illinois has also really played well at home this year, covering the number in four out of their last five outings at Memorial Stadium. While their offense ran into a tough Iowa defense in Week 13, they had scored at least 37 points in back to back games to start their November schedule.
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Although Northwestern currently holds a slight advantage against the spread over the last ten meetings between these two BIG 10 West rivals, it is important to remember that this current Northwestern squad has won just two games this season. The Fighting Illini are also a perfect 6-0 against the spread over their last six games and 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings with BIG 10 opponents. On the other side, the Wildcats are only 2-5-1 against the spread over their last eight battles with members of the BIG 10. I’m going to lay the eight points and roll with the home favorite on Saturday afternoon – give me the Fighting Illini to cover!