College Football

Illinois vs Mississippi State 1/2/23 College Football Picks, Predictions, Odds

Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (8-4)
January 2, 2023 12:00 pm EDT
The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini -2.5 / Mississippi State Bulldogs +2.5; Over/Under: 46.5
(Get latest betting odds)

The Mississippi State Bulldogs and Illinois Fighting Illini meet Monday in the college football ReliaQuest Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have split their last 6 games. The Illinois Fighting Illini have split their last 6 games.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs have lost 3 of their last 4 non-home games. Will Rogers is completing 68.2 percent of his passes for 3,713 yards, 34 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Rara Thomas and Rufus Harvey have combined for 1,098 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, while Caleb Ducking has 44 receptions. The Mississippi State Bulldogs ground game is averaging 79.8 yards per contest, and Jo’quavious Marks leads the way with 532 yards and 9 touchdowns. Defensively, Mississippi State is allowing 24.2 points and 351 yards per game. Nathaniel Watson leads the Mississippi State Bulldogs with 98 tackles, Tyrus Wheat has 6 sacks and Emmanuel Forbes has 6 interceptions.

The Illinois Fighting Illini have won 3 of their last 4 non-home games. Tommy DeVito is completing 69.9 percent of his passes for 2,397 yards, 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Isaiah Williams and Pat Bryant have combined for 1,048 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns, while Brian Hightower has 37 receptions. The Illinois Fighting Illini ground game is averaging 178.8 yards per contest, and Chase Brown leads the way with 1,643 yards and 10 touchdowns. Defensively, Illinois is allowing 12.3 points and 266.1 yards per game. Isaac Darkangelo leads the Illinois Fighting Illini with 67 tackles, Jer’Zhan Newton has 5.5 sacks and Sydney Brown has 6 interceptions.

The Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games. The Fighting Illini are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall. The over is 4-1 in Bulldogs last 5 neutral site games. The under is 15-6-1 in Fighting Illini last 22 games overall.

The Illinois Fighting Illini are arguably the best defensive team in the country, and they should be able to slow down a one dimensional Mississippi State offense that puts zero effort into its running game. Also, Mississippi State can’t exactly be 100 percent focused on this game with coach Mike Leach in critical condition in the hospital. There’s a lot going on with Mississippi State here to where football is probably its least focus. The Illinois Fighting Illini should be able to win this game. I’ll lay the points.

Update: RIP Coach Leach

Randy Chambers's Free Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini -2.5

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Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA. Follow Randy Chambers on Twitter.

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