Illinois vs Penn State Odds, Prediction & Picks | Big Ten Betting Guide

Illinois vs Penn State Odds, Prediction & Picks | Big Ten Betting Guide article feature image

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach James Franklin (center) and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Illinois vs Penn State Odds

September 16
Noon ET
Illinois Odds
-115o / -105u
Penn State Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

We finally have some good old-fashioned Big Ten football on tap. The No.7-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions will head to Champaign, where the Illinois Fighting Illini will be waiting.

The Nittany Lions entered this season with a ton of hype and real College Football Playoff aspirations. They've put up 101 points in their first two matchups, and they get to face an Illini defense that has dropped off from last season.

Speaking of Illinois, the Illini were a trendy underdog in their matchup last week against Kansas. However, the Jayhawks came out red-hot in the first half and built a lead that proved to be insurmountable.

Now, they must take on a much more potent offense, but can they keep up? Let's take a closer look to find out and uncover the best bet for Penn State vs. Illinois along the way.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

Much like the Nittany Lions, when you look at this Illinois offense, the first person you start with is the quarterback. Sophomore Luke Altmyer has looked solid both through the air and on the ground.

Altmyer led his team back in the second half and made the final score a lot closer as his legs came into play, and they will have to do so again this week if Illinois wants to keep this close.

The biggest reason Altmyer has been running so much is because his offensive line has done him no favors. This unit ranks 121st in Sack Rate Allowed and will now be facing its toughest test yet.

Altmyer's mobility will be what gets the Fighting Illini on the board, as we've seen his ability to extend plays and create downfield passes and scrambling opportunities.

Penn State Nittany Lions

I mentioned all the preseason hype this Penn State team received, and it's mainly because of quarterback Drew Allar. Allar has looked phenomenal through the first two games this season, completing 78.2% of his passes while also averaging 9.2 yards per completion.

He's made this Nittany Lions offense explosive by pushing the ball down the field, and that trend should continue in this matchup. Illinois' secondary has not looked great thus far, ranking 80th in yards per pass allowed and 73rd in completion percentage allowed.

On top of that, the Illini haven't generated much pressure, as they rank 83rd in Sack Rate.

However, it doesn't end with the passing game.

Penn State should be able to move the ball at will on the ground, as the Fighting Illini have shown little fight up front. They've allowed 5.2 yards per carry to rank 108th in the country.

Look for the Nittany Lions to continue racking up points in this matchup.

Illinois vs Penn State

Matchup Analysis

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

Penn State Offense vs. Illinois Defense
Rush Success9124
Line Yards18124
Pass Success583
Finishing Drives383
Quality Drives2130
Illinois Offense vs. Penn State Defense
Rush Success152
Line Yards156
Pass Success293
Finishing Drives142
Quality Drives12313
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling9180
PFF Coverage6490
Special Teams SP+10513
Middle 844132
Seconds per Play27.3 (75)25.8 (54)
Rush Rate60.9% (4)53.9% (84)

Illinois vs Penn State

Betting Pick & Prediction

As I said in the intro, this is a Big Ten matchup, and these conference games are usually associated with being a grind. However, this game could open up in a hurry.

The Nittany Lions should not face much resistance on offense and have the potential to really expose the Illini secondary. On the other side, Altmyer will be running for his life, but that may not be the worst thing if Penn State overextends itself.

Expect Penn State to stay in control, but Illinois won't be shut down entirely. Take the over.

Pick: Over 48.5 (Play to 50.5)

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