Big Ten Betting Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini at Purdue Boilermakers

#23 Illinois Fighting Illini at Purdue Boilermakers
Ross-Ade Stadium – West Lafayette, Indiana
Saturday, October 22, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Illinois -6 1/2
Current Line: Illinois -4
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Illinois -230 / Purdue +190
Current Money Line: Illinois -190 / Purdue +165

Purdue hosts Illinois Saturday in Big Ten action Saturday. The Boilermakers are 4 point underdogs.

The 6-1 Illinois Fighting Illini suffered their first loss of the season under coach Ron Zook last week at home against Ohio St 17-7. Now the Illini try to rebound on the road at 3-3 Purdue, coached by Danny Hope. Illinois has home wins over Arkansas St 33-15, South Dakota St 56-3, Arizona St 17-14, Western Michigan 23-20, and Northwestern 38-35, and a road win at Indiana 41-20. Purdue had home wins over Middle Tennnessee St 27-24, Southeast Missouri St 59-0, and Minnesota 45-17. The Boilermakers have losses at Rice 24-22, home against Notre Dame 38-10, and last week at Penn St 23-18. This is the 87th meeting between Illinois and Purdue. The Illini leads the series 42-38-6, but trail 20-19-4 in West Lafayette. Illinois won last year in Champaign 44-10 to snap a 5 game losing streak to Purdue.

Last week, Illinois hosted Ohio St. Ohio St was up 17-0 in the fourth quarter before Illinois finally scored with around 7 minutes to go. Down 17-7 Illinois moved the ball into the red zone with less than 2 minutes left, but elected to go for the first down on fourth  down instead of kicking the field goal and trying the onside kick. Ohio St knocked down the pass to seal the 10 point victory and cover the 6.5 point college football betting line. Neither team could move the ball very well. Illinois had more yards 285-228 but were unable to overcome 3 turnovers. Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase had 218 total rushing and passing yards, with a passing and rushing touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Ohio St won despite completing only 1 pass for 17 yards. The pass did go for a touchdown from quarterback Braxton Miller.

Illinois is averaging 424.4 yards a game including a top 20 rushing attack with 210.4  yards a game. Illinois is scoring 30.7 points a game. Illinois has 14 turnovers and has allowed 19 sacks this season. The Illini are 52/105 on third and fourth conversions but have yet to convert a fourth down in 6 tries, and 25/29 scoring in the red zone, but only have 19 touchdowns. Illinois has been great on defense this year allowing only 286.9 yards and 17.7 points a game, both are ranked in the top 20 nationally. The rush defense is #18 in the country allowing only 98.4 yards a game. Illinois has forced 26 sacks and 12 turnovers this season. Illini opponents are 39/113 on third and fourth down conversions, and 14/18 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns. Illinois has 2 defensive touchdowns this season.

Scheelhaase is 100/154 passing with 1,407 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He also has 110 carries, 396 yards, and 4 rushing touchdowns. Running back Troy Pollard has 42 carries, 385 yards, and a touchdown.  Donovonn Young has 55 carries, 327 yards, and 4 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 15 yards. Jason Ford has 91 carries, 309 yards, and 5 scores, along with 7 catches for 51 yards. Ford is probable with a shoulder injury against Purdue. Receiver A.J. Jenkins has 54 catches, 895 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Darius Millines has 10 catches for 174 yards, and a touchdown. Millines is probable with an arm injury after missing the last 3 games. Evan Wilson only has 6 catches but 3 of them went for touchdowns. Kicker Derek Dimke hasn’t missed a kick in 31 tries, including 7 field goals with a long of 49 yards.

Purdue traveled to Happy Valley last week to take on the Penn St Nittany Lions. Purdue was a 12 point underdog. Penn St was up 10-6 at halftime. Purdue scored a touchdown in the third but missed the extra point that would have tied the game at 13. Penn St scored to make it 20-12 at the end of the third. Purdue scored to make it 20-18 but had to go for two because of the missed extra point earlier. The conversion was unsuccessful and Penn St kicked a field goal with six minutes left and held on for the 23-18 win. Purdue missed a field goal in the first quarter and the two conversions, had they made those, they would have had a chance to either tie or win the game. Purdue also had 3 turnovers and 6 penalties. The Boilermakers had 344 total yards including 162 rushing yards and 15 first downs. Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush had 162 yards passing, with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. Running back Ralph Bolden had 13 carries for 97 yards. Akeem Shavers had 13 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown. Penn St had 367 total yards including 182 rushing yards.

Purdue is averaging 400.8 yards a game, including 206.7 rushing yards. The Boilermakers score 30.2 points a game. Purdue has 7 turnovers and has allowed 15 sacks this season. Purdue is 38/92 on third and fourth down conversions, and 24/27 scoring in the red zone with 18 touchd0wns. Purdue is allowing 349.3 yards a game, including 200 passing yards. The Boilermakers are allowing 21 points a game. Purdue has forced 7 turnovers and 6 sacks this season. Purdue opponents are 38/96 on third and fourth down conversions, and 14/16 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns. Purdue has one defensive touchdown this season. Purdue averages just over 8 penalties a game for 67 yards.

Purdue has been playing all season without projected starting quarterback Rob Henry who tore his ACL in fall camp. TerBush has replaced him but Robert Marve also takes some snaps. TerBush is 87/142 passing for 949 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions, along with 45 carries for 130 yards and one touchdown. Marve is 22/41 passing with 217 yards, 2 touchdowns and a pick, along with 5 carries for 9 yards.  Bolden has 70 carries, 370 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Shavers has 57 carries, 296 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 4 catches for 31 yards and a touchdown catch. Akeem Hunt has 2 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Antavian Edison has 20 catches for 326 yards, and 2 touchdowns. O.J. Ross has 19 catches for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns. Justin Stiller has 25 catches for 239 yards.  Kicker Carson Wiggs is 20/21 on extra points and 9/14 on field goals with a long of 53 yards.

Purdue is 3-3 against the spread this season, and the total is 3-1-2 in those games. Illinois is 3-4 ATS this season and the total is also 3-4 in those games. Illinois is 8-1 ATS after failing to cover during the previous game, 5-1 following a straight up loss, 9-2 in the last 11 road games, 7-3 in October games, 7-20 as a favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points, including 1-5 on the road. Purdue is 4-1 following a straight up loss, and in conference, 5-2 as a home dog of 3.5-10 points, 4-9-1 at home against teams with winning road records, 3-7-1 following a cover, and 9-23-1 in October games.

Illinois is getting no respect from college football handicappers, despite their 6-1 record. The line opened up at Illinois -6 1/2 for this game and has been bet down to -4. Purdue isn’t terrible but sometimes struggles to move the ball. I like Illinois in this game and it could be a shootout.

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