Northwestern vs. Illinois Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Northwestern is favored on the road, as the Wildcats are getting odds of -16.5 points against the Illini. The over/under total for the game has been set at 46 points. Northwestern has won four of their last five meetings in this series and the Wildcats are 4-2 against the spread in the last six games of this series. The public is currently putting 81 percent of the wagers on Northwestern on the road for this game. Saturday’s game takes place from Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois and will air live on FS1.
Northwestern is rolling along right now, winning six straight games. The Wildcats are coming off a 39-0 win over Minnesota last week to improve to 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten. Northwestern is also 8-3 against the spread, covering in their last six. The Wildcats are putting up 28.5 points and 401.5 yards per game on offense. Clayton Thorson has thrown for 2,669 yards and 14 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Justin Jackson is rushing for 1,010 yards and eight touchdowns while Bennett Skowronek has 41 catches for 567 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, Northwestern is allowing 21 points and 369.7 yards per game.
Illinois is coming off a 52-14 loss at Ohio State last week for its ninth straight loss. The Illini are 2-9 on the year and 0-9 in the Big Ten. They are 5-6 against the spread, but have covered in four of their last five games. Illinois has been a mess on offense this year, scoring just 16.2 points per game while posting 284.2 yards per contest. Jeff George Jr. missed last game with an undisclosed injury and may not play on Saturday either. He has 1,273 yards and seven passing touchdowns this year to go with 10 interceptions. The team has already lost leading rusher Mike Epstein as well to a foot injury. Defensively, Illinois is giving up 30.5 points and 415.7 yards per game.
These are two teams in clearly opposite directions as Northwestern is rolling along and Illinois can’t do anything positive in Big Ten play. The Illini are also injury plagued, so they aren’t even putting their best edition of a bad team on the field. Northwestern has been able to pick up good wins on the road and they are coming off a 39-point win over a Minnesota team that is better than Illinois.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTION: NORTHWESTERN -16.5