The UConn Huskies (1-0) host the Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0) this weekend in Week 2 college football action from East Hartford, Connecticut. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM EST on Saturday, September 7th at Rentschler Field and the game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Taking a look at the Week 2 college football odds, Illinois opened as a 20-point road favorite earlier this week. That line has yet to move at all after early betting, as the Fighting Illini are currently listed at -20. The total for the game is sitting at 59.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: UConn vs Illinois
Illinois is coming off a dominant 42-3 victory over Akron at home last Saturday. The Fighting Illini were clearly the superior team on both sides of the ball, jumping out to an early 28-3 lead after two quarters. Nothing much changed in the second half momentum-wise for the Zips, as they gave up another two touchdowns and couldn’t find a way to score a single point against a tough Illinois defense. QB Brandon Peters played pretty well, going 14/23 for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He also chipped in with another touchdown on the ground to push his total offensive yardage to 199. Peters was certainly the biggest catalyst for Illinois on offense, as no other receiver or running back managed to gain more than 60 yards against a below average Akron defense. Still, they did manage to rack up almost 350 total yards and score six touchdowns on the afternoon.
The Fighting Illini defense was outstanding in Week 1, giving up just three points all game long and forcing two costly turnovers. Illinois looked equally strong against the run and the pass, as Akron managed to gain just 192 total yards and failed to score a touchdown.
Connecticut also moved to 1-0 on the season after sneaking by Wagner 24-21 at home in Week 1. UConn actually led the entire game before giving up seven unanswered points in the 4th quarter to a stubborn Seahawks team that refused to quit but still ended up coming just short. QB Mike Beaudry did not play well, going 14/21 for just 158 yards and no touchdowns. He also threw a costly interception that gave Wagner a chance to get back in the game. The star on offense for the Huskies was definitely RB Kevin Mensah, who had 144 yards and a touchdown on a game-high 36 touches. Mensah will likely have another heavy workload again this weekend, especially if Beaudry continues to struggle.
The Huskies were pretty average defensively in Week 1, holding Wagner to 21 points on just under 200 total yards. UConn was excellent against the pass, limiting Seahawks QB Christian Alexander to only 82 yards through the air. However, Connecticut was repeatedly exposed on the ground, as RB Dymitri McKenzie torched them for 115 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Illinois -20
Despite having to play on the road, I’m a bit surprised that Illinois is favored by less than three touchdowns in this matchup. UConn managed to hang on against Wagner last week but was brutal offensively, as Kevin Mensah pretty much carried the entire team with Beaudry playing so poorly at quarterback. It will only get harder for the Huskies here in Week 2, as Illinois has an above average defense that should be able to stack the box and force Connecticut to air it out. The Fighting Illini also looked great on offense in Week 1, which could spell trouble for a UConn team that allowed Wagner to score two touchdowns and rack up a ton of yardage on the ground.
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Connecticut also has been brutal against the spread as of late, going just 16-44-2 ATS in their last 62 games overall. The Huskies are also only 1-5-1 ATS over their last seven games against teams with a winning record. If UConn can’t figure out a way to run the ball against Illinois, I think they will be in big trouble. The Fighting Illini just held Akron to just 64 yards on 38 rushing attempts one week ago, which gives me serious reservations about trusting Mensah to have another 100+ yard performance. Ultimately, Illinois should find a way to win their second straight game by 20+ points against a one-dimensional Huskies offense – give me the Fighting Illini!