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Time for some more free sports picks for this week’s action!
Week Fourteen College Football: Illinois vs. Fresno State Preview/Pick
College Football Sports Handicapping
Date/Time: Friday, December 3 – 10:15 PM
Venue: Bulldog Stadium
Illinois Fighting Illini (6-5) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (7-4) Betting Lines from Bookmaker
MoneyLine: Illinois (-230) Fresno State (+190)
NCAA Football Betting Favorite: Illinois -5.5 (-110) Fresno State +5.5 (-110)
Ron Zook has done a good job with the Illinois football program this year. Illinois was supposed to be one of the bottom-feeders in the Big Ten, but they have played decent football in 2010. The Fighting Illini are already bowl-eligible, but if they win this game it could certainly help them improve their position.
Nathan Scheelhaase is the freshman quarterback for Illinois. He has done a solid job leading this team all year long. Scheelhaase is a dual-threat quarterback, and he is improving in the passing game as the season moves along. Mikel LeShoure has had an amazing season, which has definitely taken some pressure off Scheelhaase. LeShoure has run for 1,380 yards on the year, including an Illinois record of 330 yards against Northwestern in Wrigley Field. He is averaging 5.9 yards per carry this year. The Fighting Illini offense is averaging 48 points per game over their last four contests.
Illinois has been successful this year in large part due to the improved play of their defense. Other than in their loss to Michigan, this defense has been solid every game this year. Martez Wilson is a big play maker for the defense, and Cory Liuget is the leader on the defensive line. This defense will be tested by a solid Fresno offense. They allowed 53 points to Fresno State last year.
Fresno State appeared ready to knock off Nevada three weeks ago, only to lose that game in the last few minutes. They then were blasted by Boise State, but they rebounded with a close win over Idaho last weekend. This team is already bowl-eligible as well, but a second straight win over Illinois would be big for the program.
Ryan Colburn is the starting quarterback for this team, and he has done a pretty good job this year. Colburn isn’t a dynamic passer, but he generally takes good care of the football. There will be a little extra pressure on Colburn and the passing attack this week because star running back Robbie Rouse is likely to miss this game. Rouse is nursing a rib injury. A.J. Ellis will likely get most of the carries in his absence. This Fresno offense has been less high-powered this year than most, and they will short-handed this weekend.
The Bulldog defense has done a nice job picking up the slack this year. This unit has done a very good job against the run, but they have allowed a few big games through the air. It will be important that they slow down LeShoure and the Illinois running game in this one. If they can force Scheelhaase to air it out often it gives them a much better chance to win this game.
I believe this Illinois team is quite a bit better than last year, and Fresno is down a decent amount form a year ago. I like the Fighting Illini to finish the regular season with a nice win on the road.
Illinois vs. Fresno State Score Prediction: Illinois 35 Fresno State 24