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Illinois vs. USF - 9/15/18 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USF Bulls (2-0) at Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)
Date & Time Saturday September 15, 2018, 3:30 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini +9.5 -- Over/Under:
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CFB | USF Bulls (2-0) at Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The South Florida Bulls and Illinois Fighting Illini meet Saturday in college football action at Soldier Field.

The South Florida Bulls look for a big out of conference victory to start 3-0 for the third straight season. The South Florida Bulls have won five of their last six non-home games. Blake Barnett is completing 69.2 percent of his passes for 507 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Barnett has nine completions of 15-plus yards this season. Randall St. Felix and Tyre McCants have combined for 291 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Darnell Salomon has six receptions. The South Florida Bulls ground game is averaging 186 yards per contest, and Barnett leads the way with 122 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, South Florida is allowing 26 points and 418 yards per game. Khalid McGee leads the South Florida Bulls with 20 tackles, Rashawn Yates has one sack and Mike Hampton has one interception. 

The Illinois Fighting Illini also look for a nice victory to start 3-0 for the first time since the 2011 season. The Illinois Fighting Illini haven’t won a non-home game since October of 2016. AJ Bush Jr. is completing 60 percent of his passes for 223 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Bush has one touchdown pass on 41 career pass attempts. Sam Mays and Ricky Smalling have combined for 159 receiving yards on 11 receptions while Mike Dudek has four receptions. The Illinois Fighting Illini ground game is averaging 258.5 yards per contest, and Reggie Corbin leads the way with 142 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Illinois is allowing 19 points and 407 yards per game. Jake Hansen leads the Illinois Fighting Illini with 18 tackles, Isaiah Gay has one sack and Del'Shawn Phillips has one interception.

The Bulls are 7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Big Ten and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September. The Fighting Illini are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in September and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games on grass. The under is 6-2 in Fighting Illini last 8 games overall and the over is 9-4-1 in Bulls last 14 non-conference games.

The South Florida Bulls are obviously the better team here, but they're coming off a tough, emotional win over Georgia Tech and while this is considered a neutral site game, Soldier Field is only about 130 miles away from Memorial Stadium. This is going to be a home game for the Fighting Illini. The USF Bulls are also 0-5 ATS in their last five games when favored by at least seven points. Bottom line is Illinois is a program that's trying to turn te corner and has momentum on its side with a two win start. This is a big game for the Fighting Illini and expect the players to bring it. Not sure Illinois wins, but I like the value of the points in what should be a tight contest.

Illinois Fighting Illini +9.5

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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