The Wisconsin Badgers look to stay undefeated this weekend when they visit the Illinois Fighting Illini. Kickoff is at noon EST on Saturday, October 28 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. Fans can watch the game on ESPN.
Oddsmakers have the Badgers as a 26-point favorite son the road. Early betting has already pushed the line up three points after Wisconsin opened at -23. The over/under for the game is 49 points. Click here to check out a full list of Week 9 betting odds and links to game previews.
Wisconsin vs Illinois Vegas Betting Line & Game Preview
Wisconsin may be the best team in the country no one is talking about. The Badgers are a perfect 7-0 and up to no. 5 in the polls. In most of their games, the Badgers have won by double digits and have rarely been challenged.
However, Wisconsin has yet to play a ranked team this year, and they won’t be projected to play a ranked team until the Big Ten Championship Game. It’s important to take their undefeated record with a grain of salt.
Illinois, on the other hand, is easily the worst team in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini are winless in conference play and losers of their last five games, making them 2-5 overall.
There have been some small positives the past couple of weeks, with Jeff George Jr. emerging as a possible long-term solution at quarterback. However, it’s been a long season in Champaign and it’s quite possible the team will finish the season without a conference win.
Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Wisconsin -26
The Badgers haven’t exactly blown out any of their Big Ten opponents this season. But this week will be the exception. Illinois is almost as bad as Utah State and BYU, two teams Wisconsin beat by more than 30 points earlier this year. That’s enough to make me lean toward the Badgers to cover a nearly four-touchdown spread.
The Illinois offense has had all kinds of problems stopping opposing teams on the ground this year. As it turns out, running the ball is Wisconsin’s greatest strength. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor is gaining 7.5 yards per carry and has found the end zone 11 times this season.
Even Big Ten basement dwellers like Rutgers and Minnesota have run for more than 250 yards against Illinois. The Badgers should be able to move the ball at will on the ground and perhaps break out a couple long touchdown runs.
Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.
With a strong ground game, the Badgers won’t have to ask much from quarterback Alex Hornibrook. The sophomore has been a little more efficient the past couple of weeks but remains turnover prone at times. If he can avoid turning the ball over against Illinois, there may be nothing that can slow down Wisconsin’s offense this week.
That will leave it up to the Illinois offense to perform if the Illini are to have any chance of keeping the game close. George has looked good the past two weeks, but he did so against two of the weaker defensive teams in the Big Ten.
The Badgers are allowing less than 16 points per game in Big Ten play. Also, Illinois isn’t getting much support from its running game, so there’s going to be a lot on George’s shoulders.
This game is a clear mismatch on both sides of the ball. With the way the season has gone, Illinois can’t expect to get much of a boost from being at home. As long as Wisconsin isn’t looking past the Illini, they should be able to impose themselves on Illinois early on and cruise to an easy win that covers the spread.