College Football Betting Picks Week Eight: #25 Wisconsin Badgers at Illinois Fighting Illini

#25 Wisconsin Badgers at Illinois Fighting Illini
Memorial Stadium – Champaign, Illinois

Saturday, October 19, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Line: Wisconsin -11 1/2
Current Line: Wisconsin -14
Opening Total: 55
Current Total: 56
Opening Money Line: Wisconsin -500 / Illinois +390
Current Money Line: Wisconsin -550 / Illinois +425 

Wisconsin is a two touchdown favorite at Big Ten rival Illinois Saturday.
Wisconsin is a two touchdown favorite at Big Ten rival Illinois Saturday.

The 4-2 Wisconsin Badgers travel to the 3-2 Illinois Fighting Illini Saturday night. The Badgers are 2-1 in the Big Ten and Illinois is 0-1. The series is tied 36-36-7, but Illinois is 20-15-3 in Champaign. Wisconsin has won 7 of the last 8 against Illinois and three in a row. The Badgers won last year in Madison 31-14. Wisconsin is 6-2 in their last 8 trips to Champaign.

Wisconsin is coached by Gary Andersen. The Badgers have home wins over Massachusetts 45-0, Tennessee Tech 48-0, Purdue 41-10 and last week against Northwestern 35-6. Both Wisconsin losses came on the road at Arizona State 32-30 and at Ohio State 31-24. The Badgers are 5-0-1 ATS and the total is 2-4 this season. Wisconsin easily covered the 11 point spread against Northwestern and the game went under the 58.5 point total.

The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead early in the first, but the Badgers scored 21 unanswered points. Northwestern would add another field goal just before halftime to make it 21-6. Wisconsin added 2 second half touchdowns to complete the 29 point rout. Northwestern had 241 total yards and just 10 first downs. Wisconsin had 527 total yards including 286 rushing yards. The Badgers were able to overcome 3 turnovers and the Wildcats had one.

Wisconsin is outscoring teams 37-13 this season. The Badgers are #28 in scoring and #5 in points allowed nationally. The Badgers are averaging 519.5 yards per game including 221.3 passing and 298.2 rushing yards. The Badgers are #5 in rushing nationally and #9 in total offense. On defense, Wisconsin is allowing 267.3 yards per game, including 177.2 passing and  90.2 rushing yards. The Badgers are 13th or better nationally in all defensive categories. The Badgers are even in turnovers with 8 takeaways. Wisconsin is 41/87 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 29/100. The Badgers are averaging 38 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 29. Wisconsin is 20/25 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns and opponents are 9/12 with 5 touchdowns. The Badgers have forced 14 sacks and allowed 8. Wisconsin has one defensive touchdown this season.

Quarterback Joel Stave has completed 61.8% of his passes for 1,297 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and he has a rushing touchdown as well. Running back Melvin Gordon has 90 carries, 870 yards and 8 touchdowns along with a catch. Running back James White has 88 carries, 574 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 160 yards. Corey Clement has 48 carries, 353 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus a catch. Receiver Jared Abbrederis has 35 catches, 646 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is questionable with a concussion. Jacob Pedersen has 12 catches, 131 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Illinois is coached by Tim Beckman. The Fighting Illini have home wins over Southern Illinois 42-34, Cincinnati 45-17, and Miami-(OH) 50-14. Illinois has a home loss to Washington 34-24 and two weeks ago at Nebraska 39-19. The Illini are 3-2 ATS and the total is 3-2 as well this season. Illinois was an 8.5 point underdog at Nebraska and the total was 64.

Nebraska jumped out to a 17-0 lead early against Illinois and would expand the lead to 23-5 at halftime. In the second half, Nebraska led by as many as 27 points, but would end up winning 39-19. The Cornhuskers missed two extra points. Illinois had 372 total yards including 195 rushing yards. Nebraska had 521 total yards including 335 rushing yards. Illinois had 2 turnovers and Nebraska had one. The Cornhuskers had 8 penalties for 71 yards.

The Illini are outscoring teams 36-28 so far this season. Illinois is averaging 457.2 total yards a game including 281.4 passing yards and 175.8 rushing yards. On defense, Illinois is giving up 449.8 total yards per game including 254.4 passing yards and 195.4. Illinois is 91st or worse nationally out of 125 teams in all three categories.  The Illini are -2 in turnovers with 5 takeaways. Illinois is 39/89 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 27/73. Illinois is 18/22 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns and opponents are 19/22 with 12. The Illini average 45 penalty yards per game and opponents average 62. Illinois has forced 4 sacks and allowed 13 this season. The Illini have one kick return for a touchdown.

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has completed 64.2% of his passes for 1,297 yards with 12 touchdowns and 4 picks, along with 40 carries for 42 yards and a rushing touchdown. Running back Josh Ferguson has 49 carries for 310 yards and a touchdown , and is also the leading receiver with 20 catches, 344 yards and 3 touchdowns. Donovonn Young has 61 carries, 269 yards and 3 touchdowns. Aaron Bailey has 14 carries for 77 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Ryan Lankford has 11 catches, 236 yards and a touchdown. Martize Barr has 15 catches, 155 yards and a touchdown. Matt LaCosse, Jon Davis, and Evan Wilson each have two touchdown catches. Three defensive players are listed as questionable or out Saturday.

Wisconsin is 3-0-1 ATS in Big Ten games, after a cover and against teams with winning records, 4-0-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 4-0 after gaining 450 total yards or more, 5-0-1 overall and on fieldturf, 4-1 in October, 36-17-2 after allowing less than 20 points, and 3-7-1 after a straight up win of 20 points or more. The over is 7-3 in this series recently including 4-1 in Champaign.

Illinois is 4-1 ATS at home, 18-37 after scoring less than 20 points, 12-25 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 4-10 overall, 7-20 against teams with losing road records, 2-6 after failing to cover, 3-9 on fieldturf, 2-7 after a straight up loss, 2-8 against teams with winning records, and after allowing more than 450 total yards, 1-9 in Big Ten games, and 0-4 in October. The home team has covered the last 4 in this series. The Illini are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 at home against Wisconsin.

Illinois has a bad defense, and Wisconsin should run all over them. This should be a blowout  because I don’t think Illinois will be able to move ball against the strong Wisconsin defense either.

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