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Northwestern vs. Illinois - 11/29/14 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Illinois Fighting Illini (5-6) at Northwestern Wildcats (5-6)

College Football: Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Ryan Field)

The Line: Northwestern Wildcats -8 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPNU

The Illinois Fighting Illini and Northwestern Wildcats play Saturday for the Land of Lincoln Trophy at Ryan Field.

The Illinois Fighting Illini have split their last four games and are a win away from becoming bowl eligible. Wes Lunt is completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Lunt has one touchdown and zero picks in his last two games and Illinois has 27 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Mike Dudek and Geronimo Allison have combined for more than 1,400 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns while Malik Turner has six receptions in his last three games. Illinois’ ground game is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, as Josh Ferguson leads the way with 590 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, the Illinois Fighting Illini are allowing 34 points, 427.7 yards, and they’ve forced 19 sacks and 13 turnovers. Mason Monheim leads Illinois with 103 tackles and Earnest Thomas III has 8.5 tackles for loss.

Northwestern vs. Illinois - 11/29/14 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats are also a win away from becoming bowl eligible and have won two straight. Northwestern is led by a defense that’s allowing 23.2 points, 379.4 yards, and has forced 17 sacks and 26 turnovers. Chi Chi Ariguzo leads Northwestern with 92 tackles and Anthony Walker has seven tackles for loss. Offensively, Trevor Siemian is completing 58.2 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Siemian has three touchdowns and three picks in his last two games, and Northwestern has 12 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Kyle Prater and Dan Vitale have combined for more than 900 receiving yards and four touchdowns while Tony Jones has 13 catches in his last three games. Northwestern’s ground game is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, as Justin Jackson leads the way with 1,057 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

The Fighting Illini are 7-17 ATS in their last 24 conference games and 3-13 ATS in their last 16 road games. The Wildcats are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 home games and 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games overall. The Fighting Illini are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Northwestern and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 meetings overall.

I like the way the Illinois Fighting Illini have been playing the last couple of weeks, as they're bringing more energy and actually trying on the defensive end. Regardless of which way this thing goes, getting eight free points is a gift. There's so much on the line for both teams that this is certainly going to come down to the wire. 

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Illinois Fighting Illini +8

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