Rutgers vs Illinois Odds, Predictions, Picks: College Football Betting Preview

Rutgers vs Illinois Odds, Predictions, Picks: College Football Betting Preview article feature image

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Bret Bielema.

  • The Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Illinois Fighting Illini face each other in what should be a tight Big Ten affair.
  • The Scarlet Knights are small favorites in this one, and Greg Schiano's squad is worth a bet, according to Kyle Remillard.
  • Check out Remillard's betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions below.

Rutgers vs. Illinois Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
12 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Rutgers Odds
-110o / -110u
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Rutgers travels to Illinois for a Big Ten clash among two of the bottom feeders in the conference.

Rumor has it the Fighting Illini are still celebrating after the nine-overtime victory they got over the seventh-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. However, the win came with some bad news.

Illinois lost quarterback Artur Sitkowski for the remainder of the season with a broken arm.

The victory was the third of the season for Illinois, which also defeated Nebraska and Charlotte. In its five losses, the offense has averaged just 14 points per game.

Illinois will face a Rutgers team that finished 3-0 in its out-of-conference schedule but has lost all four games it has played since entering the Big Ten season.

Three of those losses came against the top teams in the conference in Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State, but Rutgers also fell to Northwestern.

Can Rutgers find its first conference victory against an Illinois squad that is being led by its backup quarterback?

Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois Offense

The Illini will hand the keys to the offense back over to Week 1 starter Brandon Peters.

Peters has struggled this season, both managing the offense and staying healthy. In his five starts, he has yet to eclipse 200 yards passing, he's averaging five yards per pass attempt, he's completing less than 49% of his throws and he has accumulated just one touchdown pass.

The Illinois offense is one-dimensional and is reliant on the run game. The Illini own a Rush Rate of 58% (43rd in the country) while maintaining the 37th Rushing Success Rate.

They have a two-headed monster at the running back position between Josh McCray and Chase Brown. McCray is more of a bulldozer who averaged 5.5 yards per carry, while Brown is the speedster, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.

The two will need to carry the load as the offense ranks 124th in Passing Success Rate.

Illinois Defense

The Illinois defense is allowing 24 points and just over 400 yards of total offense per game.

Illinois' run-stopping unit has allowed 4.2 yards per carry and ranks 96th in Success Rate. Against the pass, the group hasn’t been much better, allowing 7.7 yards per pass attempt.

The defensive line has been strong and has totaled 40 tackles for loss, to go along with 19 sacks. Outside linebacker Owen Carney Jr. leads the team with 5.5 sacks on the season.

After allowing 30 points through the first four games the Illini have improved, allowing only 17 over the last four games.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers Offense

The Rutgers offense desperately needed the bye week to help with some lingering injuries.

Quarterback Noah Vedral was dealing with a pesky arm injury, but managed to play through it against Northwestern. He’s been effective at times, averaging 6.4 yards per pass attempt to go along with seven touchdown passes.

His top two targets in Bo Melton and Aron Cruickshank, along with left tackle Raiqwon O’Neal, also missed time in recent weeks. All three should be back starting and healthy entering this matchup after the bye week.

Rutgers Defense

Stop the run. Stop the run. Stop the run.

That’s the recipe for success for Rutgers' defense. It faces an Illinois team that continues to increase its Rush Rate week over week.

Rutgers' defense currently ranks 21st in Rushing Success Rate and has allowed an average of 4.0 yards per carry.

One area of concern is the 120th PFF ranking in tackling. That has likely been in part due to injuries, but the unit should be at or near full strength on Saturday.

Rutgers will own a significant edge in creating Havoc as it sits at 23rd in the nation. The defense has 43 tackles for loss and 15 sacks.

It has been stellar at keeping its opponents out of the end zone after passing the 40-yard line, ranking 19th nationally in Finishing Drives.

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Rutgers vs. Illinois Matchup Analysis

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

Rutgers Offense vs. Illinois Defense
Rush Success7696
Line Yards77119
Pass Success11192
Pass Blocking**9027
Big Play113102
Finishing Drives9248
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Illinois Offense vs. Rutgers Defense
Rush Success3721
Line Yards1631
Pass Success12412
Pass Blocking**9986
Big Play13192
Finishing Drives12619
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling12047
Middle 810231
SP+ Special Teams9313
Plays per Minute7066
Rush Rate54.4% (68)58.3% (43)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Rutgers vs. Illinois Betting Pick

The bye week couldn’t have come soon enough for Rutgers. After losing four conference games in a row — along with nagging injuries — the Scarlet Knights are poised to end the final five games on a positive note.

Illinois amassed 357 rushing yards and only 38 passing yards last week against Penn State. It ran the ball 67 times versus 21 pass attempts. If the Fighting Illini can't run the ball, the offense will stall. Rutgers owns one of the top rushing defenses and will be able to force that.

The Fighting Illini have amassed 280 passing yards over the last four games combined. An average of 70 yards passing over a four-game span is typically only seen by service academies.

This could be a letdown spot for Illinois after its wild upset over Penn State last week.

It may not be pretty, but Rutgers is going to find its first conference victory on Saturday.

Pick: Rutgers -1.5 (Play to -2.5)

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