Illinois Fighting Illini (2-4) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-3)
College Football: Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm (TCF Bank Stadium)
The Line: Minnesota Golden Gophers -14.5 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Illinois Fighting Illini and Minnesota Golden Gophers meet Saturday in college football action at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Illinois Fighting Illini would love to get their first road win of the season to snap a four-game losing streak overall. The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost five straight road games. Jeff George, Jr. is completing 51.4 percent of his passes for 765 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions. George has two touchdown passes and five interceptions in his last two games. Ricky Smalling and Mike Dudek have combined for 501 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Louis Dorsey has 11 receptions. The Illinois Fighting Illini ground game is averaging 118.3 yards per contest, and Mike Epstein leads the way with 346 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Illinois is allowing 30.5 points and 421.2 yards per game. Del'Shawn Phillips leads the Illinois Fighting Illini with 45 tackles, Bobby Roundtree has three sacks and Tré Watson has one interception.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers look to snap a three-game losing streak to get a game above a .500 record. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have won five of their last seven home games. Conor Rhoda is completing 54.1 percent of his passes for 839 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Rhoda has one or less touchdown passes in five of the six games this season. Tyler Johnson and Nate Wozniak have combined for 566 receiving yards and six touchdowns while Brandon Lingen has nine receptions. The Minnesota Golden Gophers ground game is averaging 170.6 yards per contest, and Rodney Smith leads the way with 442 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Minnesota is allowing 19.3 points and 322.8 yards per game. Thomas Barber leads the Minnesota Golden Gophers with 52 tackles, Carter Coughlin has 2.5 sacks and Jacob Huff has two interceptions.
The Fighting Illini are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 road games, 0-6 ATS in their last 6 conference games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Golden Gophers are 2-5 ATS vs. a team with a losing record, 21-10-3 ATS in their last 34 conference games and 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a straight up loss. The Fighting Illini are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Minnesota and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
It doesn't seem wise to lay two touchdowns with a team that's lost three straight, which includes a home loss to Maryland and a backup quarterback. However, Illinois just lost at home to Rutgers and has been outscored 92-39 in its two road games this season. The Fighting Illini are struggling big time on the defensive end and nothing comes easy offensively, as the passing game is completing just barely 50 percent and the ground game is averaging well under four yards per pop. This is a game Minnesota should be able to win rather easily, but this isn't a game I'd bet personally, as the chalk is too steep given the form of both teams.