Illinois vs. Wisconsin Odds, Picks: Expect Rock Fight in This Big Ten College Football Clash

Illinois vs. Wisconsin Odds, Picks: Expect Rock Fight in This Big Ten College Football Clash article feature image

James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Brown

  • Wisconsin was embarrassed last week against Ohio State, but will it bounce back against another Big Ten opponent in Illinois this week?
  • The Badgers host the Illini in Madison on Saturday as part of college football's Week 5.
  • Kyle Remillard previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Illinois vs. Wisconsin Odds

Saturday, Oct. 1
12 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Wisconsin Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Wisconsin will look to salvage its reputation after getting dismantled by Ohio State last week. The Badgers were a no-show, falling behind 45-7 through the first three quarters before ultimately losing 52-21.

The loss drops the Badgers to 2-2, as the program also lost by three as 17.5-point favorites over Washington State. The Badgers' two victories have come in dominant fashion by a cumulative score of 104-7 over Illinois State and New Mexico State.

Now they will match up against an Illinois program that has opened the season 3-1. Its only loss came to Indiana in dramatic fashion.

Shaun Shivers scores the game-winning touchdown for Indiana to complete their 23-20 win over Illinois.

— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 3, 2022

The Illinois defense has been stout in its other three matchups, allowing a total of nine points combined to Wyoming, Virginia and Chattanooga.

This is a matchup highlighted by dominant defenses and elite running backs. Those two groups will likely be the ones that determine the outcome of this Big Ten matchup.

Illinois Fightning Illini

Despite being 3-1 on the season, the Fighting Illini lost their only game to a conference foe.

The defense has been the storyline through the first month, allowing a total of 32 points through four games. The group is allowing just 2.9 yards per carry and 4.7 yards per pass attempt this season.

Only two total touchdowns have been scored against the program in 240 minutes of game time, though they haven’t faced the most quality of offenses yet.  

The offense has been serviceable to date thanks to workhorse running back Chase Brown. Brown has been a monster, averaging 150 yards per game while pounding his way for 6.4 yards per carry.

The 5-foot-11 running back has accounted for 35% of the Illini’s total yards this season.

Bret Bielema has given quarterback Tommy DeVito a bit more of a leash this season. The offense is passing on 45% of its snaps, and DeVito is averaging 7.4 yards on such plays. The senior quarterback has tossed nine touchdowns to only two interceptions, and is averaging 240 passing yards per contest.

This matchup will be a strong test of whether his success was due to a soft schedule for the first four games of the season.

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin fans have been quick to shift the blame onto head coach Paul Chryst after getting demolished by Ohio State last week.

Sure, some of the blame should be placed on Chryst’s shoulders, but the reality is Wisconsin runs an outdated offense that can’t compete with the likes of Ohio State.

The Badgers have stuck to their roots with a slow-paced, ground-and-pound offense. Through four games, the program ranks 123rd in Seconds Per Play and has run the ball on 65% of its snaps.

Though on that note, the ground game has been the one constant success this season. Wisconsin ranks 42nd in Rushing Success Rate, having put up 5.2 yards per carry.

Sophomore running back Braelon Allen is the workhorse who has tallied up 6.8 yards per carry and over 125 rushing yards per game. He’s found pay dirt six times and even put up 165 yards against Ohio State.

Graham Mertz looked strong in his first three games this season, averaging 11.2 yards per pass attempt and over 240 passing yards per game. But that all came crashing down against Ohio State, as Mertz completed 11-of-20 passes for 94 yards (4.7 YPA).

The Badgers' defense appeared to be as solid as ever, allowing just 24 points to their first three opponents. But the defensive metrics were destroyed after allowing Ohio State to amount 28 first downs and 539 yards of total offense.

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Illinois vs. Wisconsin Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Illinois and Wisconsin match up statistically:

Illinois Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense
Rush Success6985
Line Yards46100
Pass Success7582
Pass Blocking**2242
Finishing Drives10879
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Wisconsin Offense vs. Illinois Defense
Rush Success422
Line Yards8326
Pass Success712
Pass Blocking**1921
Finishing Drives11
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling2883
PFF Coverage532
SP+ Special Teams9493
Seconds per Play26.7 (71)30.2 (123)
Rush Rate56.4% (46)64.8% (11)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Illinois vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick

Chryst and Bielema know each other well having coached together on the Wisconsin staff for six years. Bielema has worked to transform the Illinois program into a carbon copy of Wisconsin.

Illinois and Wisconsin both lean on massive offensive lines to open holes for a dominant running back. The quarterbacks are more game managers, and the defenses are the backbone of each program.

The Illinois defensive metrics are incredibly impressive, which is no surprise as it's only allowing eight points per game.

The Fighting Illini rank second in Success Rate against both the rush and the pass. They’re third in Havoc created and are the best team in the nation at keeping opponents out of the end zone.

I can’t envision the one-dimensional Wisconsin offense overpowering Illinois.

And the Fighting Illini will be able to slow down Allen. That will force Mertz to win the game against a defense that ranks fifth in the nation in Coverage, according to PFF.

Good luck.

Instead of a side, I am eyeing the total in this matchup. The clock will continuously be moving in a matchup between two premier defenses and slow-paced offenses.

Expect a rock fight at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Pick: Under 43.5 (Play to 42)

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