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Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan State Spartans Pick-Odds-Prediction 10/26/13

Michigan State Spartans (6-1) at Illinois Fighting Illini (3-3)

College Football: Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm (Memorial Stadium)

The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini +11 See the Latest Odds


The Michigan State Spartans head to Illinois on Saturday to square off against the Illinois Fighting Illini. 

The Illinois Fighting Illini are sitting at 3-3 on the season after suffering a 56-32 loss to the Badgers last weekend.  The Illini kept it respectable for the first half, but after the break it was all Wisconsin.  The Illini like to run a very balanced offense, but that may change somewhat here on Saturday as Illinois will be going up against the number one run defense in the nation.  Illinois is averaging a decent 4.6 yards per attempt on the year, but the Spartans are outstanding against the run, allowing an average of 2.1 on the year.  Illinois will likely have to open up the game with the pass first, and that will put the pressure on Scheelhaase and these receivers.  The Illini are completing better than 62 percent of their passes on the year for an average of 8.1 yards per attempt through the air, but the Spartans are also outstanding on the back end, allowing just 4.7 per attempt on the year.  Needless to say, it could be rough going for this Illini offense on Saturday.

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Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan State Spartans Pick-Odds-Prediction 10/26/13

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans were all defense earlier in the year, but now that the Spartans have found their QB in Connor Cook, the offense has improved.  Well, that was until last weekend of course when the Spartans beat the Boilermakers 14-0, in what had to be one of the most boring games of the day.  After their game with Purdue, the Spartans are a little banged up, with Thomas on the defensive line listed as questionable, as well as wideouts Madaris and Fowler.  The Spartans are better offensively than they showed us this past weekend against Purdue, but it’s clear that this unit still has a lot of work to do as the offense didn’t score until the fourth quarter against the Boilermakers last weekend.  The Spartans are currently ranked 87th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging just 23.7 per game.  Michigan State still has Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern on their schedule, so even with this defense; the Spartans are going to need to get some things figured out offensively down the stretch. 

The total has gone under in 13 of the last 18 games for the Spartans, and MSU is 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 road games.  The Illini are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games, and Illinois is just 1-8 ATS in their last nine games against the Spartans.

I’m going to back the Illini here.  Illinois is in desperate need of something positive to happen to them, and a win against the Spartans at home would be a huge lift for this team.  Michigan State played flat last weekend, and even more importantly the Spartans are banged up offensively, which is something this offense cannot afford.  The Spartans also have a home game against the Wolverines next weekend, for what likely could be for first place (depending on this week’s games of course) so I’m sure that will be on the back of their minds as well, with them being double digit favorites over Illinois. 

I don’t think the Illini will get the outright win over the Spartans, but getting double digit points at home with the far better QB looks like the way to go here on Saturday.

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