College Football Week 7 Predictions: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Saturday, 10/11/14, 12:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Wisconsin -23
Current Betting Line:  Wisconsin -25
Opening Total:  55.5
Current Total:  55
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Wisconsin Badgers are on pace to break their single-season record for rushing yards
The Wisconsin Badgers are on pace to break their single-season record for rushing yards

Illinois has dropped back-to-back games, including a 38-27 setback to the Purdue Boilermakers as 10-point home favorites last Saturday, while going OVER the betting total of 53.  The Fighting Illini have been able to produce big plays offensively in the early stages of the 2014 campaign, which is important to consider when looking over the college football odds page—racking up 40 scrimmage plays of 20-plus yards.  The team’s passing game tops the Big Ten Conference in averaging 332.8 yards per game.  Illinois is 0-2 SUATS as underdogs of 21.5 to 31 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Fighting Illini are extremely pleased with what they’ve seen from freshman wide receiver Mike Dudek, who had eight catches for 200 yards against the Boilermakers last week—the most receiving yards by a Big Ten player this year.  Illinois also has a weapon in the backfield with running back Josh Ferguson, who is one of only backfield players with over 400 rushing yards and 200 receiving yards.  It’s important to point out that the offense may slow down now that signal-caller Wes Lunt suffered an injury that will keep him out for at least four weeks.

Wisconsin had its three-game winning streak snapped last Saturday, as it dropped a 20-14 decision to the Northwestern Wildcats as 7.5-point road favorites, but it did manage to win the statistical battle for a fourth consecutive contest.  The Badgers are led by Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon, who ran for a career-high 259 yards last week, and is averaging a nation-leading 174.2 yards per game on the ground.  He’s the nation’s active career leader in rushing average at 8.14 yards per carry.  Wisconsin is 3-1 SUATS as favorites of 21.5 to 31 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Badgers rank 11th nationally in allowing just 15.6 points per game, whihc can’t be ignored when making your college football predictions.  Wisconsin has won five straight Big Ten home openers—10 of 11 when dating back to the 2003 season.  The program is 541 yards ahead of the pace that it had when setting a single-season school-record of 3,689 rushing yards a year ago.

Sports bettors will likely back the Badgers due to the home team covering the number in four of the last five meetings in this series.

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