In an early week one matchup, two Big Ten teams face off as the Illinois Fighting Illini head to Bloomington, IN to play the Indiana Hoosiers. While this will be Indiana’s first game of the season, Illinois played a week 0 game against Wyoming where they won in a dominating fashion, 38-6. The Illini showed a great offensive and defensive showing in this game but it will be interesting to see how they will play against a more talented Power-5 team in their conference rival Hoosiers. Indiana is coming off a disappointing 2021 season and is hoping to show improvements starting off the year to get off on the right track. Let’s take a look into this matchup’s betting odds, picks, and predictions.
Illinois vs. Indiana Betting Odds
Illinois already has a win this season and Indiana has yet to play, but Indiana is entering this game as -150 moneyline favorites at a spread of -3. Indiana playing at home in front of a Hoosier faithful crowd desperate to see a momentum change I’m sure is a big reason for the opening lines. These two teams are pretty close in terms of talent and will most likely have similar final records for the season around 4 or 5 wins. Both of these teams are projected to be near the bottom of the Big Ten so getting off to a win in their first Big Ten game is huge for both teams.
Indiana opens as the favorites but there are still a lot of questions unanswered about this Hoosiers team. For one, the starting quarterback has not been publicly announced. Quarterback play was a major issue last season with 4 different QBs taking the field last year. If they can’t find a QB identity again early, it could spark trouble for the Hoosiers all season long. Projected to be named starter is Mizzou transfer Caleb Bazalek and will be interesting to see how he fares against the Illini defense that held Wyoming to just six points. I expect this game to be a close one and a line of only 3 points confirms my thoughts that this will go down to the wire.
Illinois vs. Indiana Picks & Predictions
My pick: Illinois +3
This game will be a close finish no doubt about that. Like I said earlier, these teams on paper have similar talent and I don’t feel comfortable necessarily choosing a moneyline favorite in this game. With Illinois coming into this game as an underdog and already getting some field experience unlike the Hoosiers, it makes me like their spread line to cover at 3 points. They were able to show some early flames against Wyoming offensively and defensively and it’s still hard for me to predict what to expect from IU when they still haven’t even publicly announced their quarterback. It is a home game for the Hoosiers but I think Illinois keeps it close or pulls out the upset.
The over/under line is currently set at 46.5 and I really don’t suggest taking a bet on that one. Still a lot of unanswered questions for both teams on if they will be able to score at high margins against power-5 defenses.
Illinois vs Indiana Key Matchup
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Illinois vs Indiana below.
Chase Brown vs. Indiana Defense
One big individual performance to keep your eye on would be that of Illinois RB Chase Brown. Brown had a superb game last weekend against Wyoming, in which he ran for 2 TDs while also scoring a receiving TD as well. While QB Tommy Devito did look quite well against the Cowboys, it was Brown’s dominant effort that led the Illini to the 32 point win. Brown rushed for 151 yds as well before being pulled in the blow out. If Brown is able to show another dominant run game this Friday, Illinois has a good chance to win this game.
In order for Indiana to have a chance to win this game, it needs to show its ability to step up defensively. The offense still lacks some specific identity, but the defense as well will be undergoing some new changes. After losing leading tackler LB Micah Mcfadden to the NFL draft, this Hoosier defense will be looking for new players to be able to stuff players like Chase Brown. Defensive Tackle and Cal transfer JH Tevis Sr. can be a big addition on the defensive line that could be responsible for stopping the running game. Miami transfer Bradley Jennings, Sr. that will come in at the LB position will also be another huge addition to this reshaped defense. With the secondary getting back CBs like Tiawan Mullen, I believe if the Hoosiers are able to stop the running game they have a good shot at pulling this game off.
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