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Week Eight: Indiana vs. Illinois Preview/Pick
Date/Time: Saturday October 23- 12:00 PM
Venue: Memorial Stadium
Indiana Hoosiers (4-2) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (3-3) Betting Lines from Bookmaker
MoneyLine: Illinois (-525) Indiana (+425)
NCAA Betting Favorite: Illinois -13.5 (-110) Indiana +13.5 (-110)
The Indiana Hoosiers have taken a similar path the last few years. They win their out of conference games against an easy schedule and then get beaten up in the Big Ten. They are already 0-2 in the Big Ten this year.
The Hoosiers have an impressive offense, led by senior quarterback Ben Chappell. He is completing 68.7% of his passes and has thrown 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions so far this year. How good is Indiana’s passing game? They are ranked fifth nationally in passing yards per game at 319 per contest. In Demarlo Belcher, Tandon Doss, and Terrance Turner they might have the best receiving trio in the conference. Doss is a game breaker on special teams as well. The Hoosiers lack a top running back, which makes them quite unbalanced on the offensive side. Even though they don’t have much of a running game, this is a very good offense.
The defense is a real weakness for this team. They are bad against both the pass and the run. A couple of games ago Terrelle Pryor threw for nearly 300 yards in the first half against this unit. Last weekend they allowed 34 points against Arkansas State. In every major defensive statistic this unit ranks 83rd or worse in the nation. It is tough to win with a defense this bad.
The Fighting Illini have been a little better than most people thought they would be this year. The defense has really stepped up and done a nice job, but this young team is still struggling to finish off their opponent.
Illinois is led by freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. Scheelhaase had been doing a nice job with the offense until last weekend, when he was picked off three times by Michigan State. The Fighting Illini were right in that game, but turnovers really hurt them and they ended up being beaten badly. Running back Mikel LeShoure is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and he has helped this rushing attack be quite successful this season. The passing game must improve to help balance out this offense.
The Fighting Illini have been very good defensively this year. This is a talented defense that has really gotten its act together in 2010. Martez Wilson is healthy, and he is a force at the linebacker spot. Cory Liuget leads a strong front four, which stuffs the run very well. The Fighting Illini are allowing just 18.5 points per game, and some of those points have come off offensive turnovers. The athleticism on this defense is superior to most units in the Big Ten. This defense does a great job of keeping Illinois in every game.
The College Football Gambling Pick:
Indiana is the type of team that can sneak up on you if you aren’t ready. I have to wonder if Illinois will be in a bit of a letdown mode after their disappointing finish in East Lansing last week. I still think Illinois will be able to run all over the Hoosiers defense. The best play on the board looks like the over. Both teams should be able to move the ball well in this game.
Indiana vs. Illinois Score Free CFB Prediction: Illinois 35 Indiana 27