Nebraska will host Illinois in Big 10 football action this Saturday in a game that kicks off at 3:30 pm est. Illinois opened as low as -5 and the early bettors hammered the Illini all the way up to as high as -8. As of Tuesday there’s a mix of 7’s on up to 8 on the board. The total is 50.5 at GTBets.
Illinois is one of those teams that everyone is rooting for this year due to their historical lack of success. Here they are in 1st place in the Big 10 West with a defense that’s playing like the 85 Bears.
While Illinois lacks recent success, that hasn’t been apparent in this series with Nebraska as you’ll see in the head to head listings below.
8/28/2021 Nebraska 22 - 6.5 at Illinois 30 11/21/2020 Illinois 41 +15.5 at Nebraska 23 9/21/2019 Nebraska 42 -13.0 at Illinois 38 11/10/2018 Illinois 35 +17.5 at Nebraska 54 9/29/2017 Nebraska 28 - 6.0 at Illinois 6 10/ 1/2016 Illinois 16 +20.5 at Nebraska 31 10/ 3/2015 Nebraska 13 - 3.5 at Illinois 14 9/27/2014 Illinois 14 +21.0 at Nebraska 45 10/ 5/2013 Illinois 19 + 8.5 at Nebraska 39 average outcome: Illinois 23.7 Nebraska 33.0 margin = 9.33 time-weighted average outcome: Illinois 27.9 Nebraska 31.8 margin = 3.89 average result when the home team is Nebraska Illinois 25.0 Nebraska 38.4 margin = 13.40 average result when the home team is Illinois Nebraska 26.3 Illinois 22.0 margin = -4.25 33.33 % of games went Over 40.00 % went Over at Nebraska average total points per game = 56.67 time-weighted average total = 59.76 the home team covered 66.67 % of the time the road team covered 33.33 % of the time Ave ATS differential = -0.44 the favorite covered 44.44 % of the time the underdog covered 55.56 % of the time Ave ATS differential = -3.11 the favorite won SU 66.67 % of the time Illinois covered 55.56 % of the time Nebraska covered 44.44 % of the time Nebraska covered 60.00 % of the time at home
The Illinois defense is #1 in the Nation in Yards given up per game, #1 in yards per play given up, #2 in rushing yards given up, #5 in passing yards given up and so on. We could go on and on. Bottom line is, this is a legit defense.
The offense isn’t exactly lighting it up but QB Tommy Devito definitely adds a spark to the unit and their yards per rush attempt differential ranks among the best in the nation.
Nebraska has put some points on the board this year at times but not against a defense like the one they’ll see this week.
We think Illinois comes away with the win in this game. We’re not crazy about laying a TD or more and think the early bettors grabbing -5 and -6 had the right idea. However, we do like the total here. We could see this playing out like the Nebraska/Rutgers game, a 14-13 score, but with Illinois extending the margin a bit.
Our model has Nebraska scoring 10 points and Illinois in the 24 to 30 range.