Illinois vs. Nebraska Pick
Can No. 15 Nebraska avoid a letdown performance when it plays host to Illinois on Saturday at 3:30PM ET on ESPN2?
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Nebraska is heavily favored at home in this game. The Cornhuskers are getting odds of -20.5 points against Illinois, while the over/under total for the contest has been set at 53 points. The home team has won and covered the spread in all three Big Ten meetings between these two.
Nebraska improved 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Big Ten last week with a 24-13 win at Northwestern. The Cornhuskers covered the spread as well to go to 3-0-1 ATS on the year. Nebraska has been racking up the offense this season, averaging 38.5 points and 485 yards per game. The run game has been the biggest strength as Devine Ozigbo and Tommy Armstong Jr. have combined for 564 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Armstrong has also thrown for 931 yards and eight scores. One setback for this game could be the loss of receiver Alonzo Moore, who has 12 receptions for 310 yards. He is dealing with a shoulder injury that has him listed as doubtful. Defensively for Nebraska, it is giving up just 18 points and 366 yards per game.
Illinois had its bye week since a 34-10 loss at home to Western Michigan. The Illini are now 1-2 on the season and 1-2 against the spread under new coach Lovie Smith. Illinois isn’t really lightning things up on offense, averaging 28.3 points and 379.7 yards per game. On defense, Illinois is giving up 28.3 points and 354.7 yards per game, including 158 rushing yards per contest. Quarterback Wes Lunt has thrown for 665 yards and six touchdowns to lead the offense while Ke’Shawn Vaughn is the leading rusher with 187 yards and two scores.
Illinois has been soundly beaten by UNC and Western Michigan at home, so I don’t hold out hope for the Illini to fend off the Cornhuskers. Nebraska shouldn’t have too much trouble limiting the Illinois offense and Armstrong should be able to lead the offense to plenty of scores. Illinois’ defense has struggled against less and will continue to struggle, especially in their first road game of 2016.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 5 PICK: NEBRASKA -20.5