College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Wisconsin vs. Illinois: Betting Value on Saturday’s Over/Under (Oct. 9)

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Wisconsin vs. Illinois: Betting Value on Saturday’s Over/Under (Oct. 9) article feature image

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  • The Wisconsin Badgers and Illinois Fighting Illini meet in Big Ten action on Saturday afternoon.
  • With both offenses struggling, a classic Big Ten affair could be in store.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick and prediction based on his analysis for this Big Ten battle.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois Odds

Wisconsin Odds-11 (-105)
Illinois Odds+11 (-115)
Moneyline-410 / +310
Time3:30 p.m. ET
TVBig Ten Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Welcome to the least-entertaining Week 6 college football game.

No one in their right mind should watch this game. Unless, of course, you're reading this article. Because you know there's value to be found.

The question is, where?

It's tough to lay 10 points with Graham Mertz on the road, especially considering Wisconsin's only win this season came against Eastern Michigan.

However, it's just as difficult to bet Illinois against this Wisconsin defense. Illinois did win last week but lost four straight entering that game, with its last win coming in Week 0 against Nebraska.

Wisconsin has dominated this matchup, winning nine of the last 10 between the two. However, Illinois has covered in four of the meetings.

The total opened at just 42.5 and has been bet down to 42. However, the majority of the tickets (66%) and the handle (88%) are on the over.

Whether the over hits or not, we're in for a classic low-scoring Big Ten affair. So, let's dive into this matchup.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 9
3:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin Offense

There's nothing good to say about the Wisconsin offense.

Mertz grades out as PFF's seventh-worst quarterback (min. 60 dropbacks), already having thrown six interceptions on seven Turnover Worthy Plays. He's averaging just 6.1 yards per attempt on 55.4% completion.

However, Mertz is questionable for this Saturday's game after getting knocked out against Michigan with a chest injury.

Backup Chase Wolf came in to complete just three of his eight passes, for one touchdown and one interception in relief of Mertz vs. the Wolverines.

This offense can't do anything right. They do rank 50th in Standard Downs Success Rate, but they're inefficient in every other area and have zero explosiveness.

The Badgers rank dead last in:

  • Passing Success Rate
  • Passing EPA
  • Offensive Explosiveness
  • Standard Downs Explosiveness
  • Passing Downs Explosiveness

Mertz has thrown 13 passes 20+ yards downfield and has completed exactly three of them.

Moreover, Wisconsin has exactly five rushes of 15 yards or more.

All-in-all, Wisconsin is scoring just 18.5 points per game while ranking 106th in yards per play.

Wisconsin Defense

But this defense is for real.

They returned 83% of their defensive production from last season, per TARP, and it's showing on the field. The Badgers rank top 10 in:

  • Rushing Success
  • Passing Success
  • Big Play
  • Defensive Line Yards
  • Standard Downs Success Rate

They're wildly successful in the trenches. Through four games, the Badgers are allowing just 1.6 yards per rush. Plus, the Badgers have faced four top-20 opponents and have held three of them to under 20 points.

While Wisconsin couldn't accomplish that feat against Michigan last week, the defense still held the Wolverines to 2.5 yards per rush.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois Offense

Illinois' offense is just as ineffective as Wisco's, but for different reasons.

The offense has some semblance of explosive plays. They've posted 17 rushes of 15+ yards, ranking 76th in Offensive Explosiveness and 55th in Passing Downs Explosiveness.

But they can't move the ball consistently. Brandon Peters ranks as Illinois' 112th-highest-graded quarterback, and the Illini rank 123rd in Passing Success.

Meanwhile, the Illini rank 85th in Rush Success and 113th in Standard Downs Success Rate.

Illinois Defense

Illinois has produced up front. The Illini rank 38th in Pass Rush and 24th in PFF's Pass Rushing grades. Plus, the defense ranks 21st in Rushing EPA.

However, the defensive line ranks just 111th in Line Yards, with just two Illinois defensive linemen cracking PFF's top 200.

But similar to how the offense can't move the ball consistently, Illinois doesn't get consistent stops. The Illini defense ranks just 113th in Standard Downs Success Rate and 123rd in Passing Success Rate.

For all their faults, Bret Bielema has done the little things right. Illinois is the 39th best team in the nation in the Middle 8 and the special teams unit grades out as the 12th best in college football.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois Matchup Analysis

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

Wisconsin Offense vs. Illinois Defense




Rush Success
Line Yards
Pass Success
Pass Blocking**
Big Play
Finishing Drives
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Illinois Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense




Rush Success
Line Yards
Pass Success
Pass Blocking**
Big Play
Finishing Drives
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling
PFF Coverage
Middle 8
SP+ Special Teams
Plays per Minute
Rush Rate
58.8% (41)
58.% (45)

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

Wisconsin vs. Illinois Betting Pick

We're in for a windy game Saturday, with winds blowing across the field at close to 15 mph. That's triggered an Action PRO system, Windy Unders, which has a 57% win rate and a +10% ROI.

Despite the low number, I'm ready to back the wind and take the under. Both offenses lack explosiveness and are led by terrible quarterbacks. Plus, they're both overmatched by their defensive counterparts, specifically, Illinois, which is going to get destroyed by the Wisconsin defense.

If Illinois somehow manages to move the ball, its biggest strength is its red-zone offense, which ranks fifth in the FBS in Red Zone Efficiency. However, the Illini run headfirst into a Badger defense that leads the FBS in Finishing Drives.

Finally, while all the bets are coming in on the over, the line has moved the other way. We characterize that as reverse line movement and it's a profitable bet signal.

Illinois is 5-1 to the under this season and we're in for another Big Ten battle in the 30s.

I like this under down to 40 flat.

Pick: Under 42 (Play to 40)

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