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Illinois vs. Western Illinois - 9/8/18 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Western Illinois Leathernecks (0-1) at Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0)
Date & Time Saturday September 8, 2018, 7:30 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini -7 -- Over/Under: 52.5
TV Channel
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CFB | Western Illinois Leathernecks (0-1) at Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0)
Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The Western Illinois Leathernecks and Illinois Fighting Illini meet Saturday in college football action at Memorial Stadium.

The Western Illinois Leathernecks look for their first win of the season after losing a heartbreaker to Montana State, 23-26. The Western Illinois Leathernecks have won six of their last nine road games. Sean Maguire is completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 164 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Maguire has a combined 27 touchdown passes since last season. Clint Ratkovich and Steve McShane have combined for 114 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Jared Drake has four receptions. The Western Illinois Leathernecks ground game is averaging 153 yards per contest, and McShane leads the way with 76 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Western Illinois is allowing 26 points and 239 yards per game. Zach Glisan leads the Western Illinois Leathernecks with six tackles, Pete Swenson has one tackle for loss and Zach Muniz has one interception.

The Illinois Fighting Illini look for back-to-back 2-0 starts after beating Kent State, 31-24. The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost five of their last six home games. AJ Bush Jr. is completing 56.5 percent of his passes for 190 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Bush has one touchdown pass on 24 career pass attempts. Ricky Smalling and Mike Dudek have combined for 135 receiving yards on seven receptions while Sam Mays has four receptions. The Illinois Fighting Illini ground game is averaging 279 yards per contest, and Bush leads the way with 139 yards on 21 carries. Defensively, Illinois is allowing three points and 453 yards per game. Jake Hansen leads the Illinois Fighting Illini with 15 tackles, Owen Carney Jr. has 0.5 sacks and Del'Shawn Phillips has one interception.

The under is 6-0 in Leathernecks last 6 games on fieldturf and 4-0 in Leathernecks last 4 vs. Big Ten. The Fighting Illini are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games in September and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.

The Illinois Fighting Illini need wins like this if they're going to have a promising season and make a run at a bowl. The Western Illinois Leathernecks are sure to have a hard time bouncing back after losing a tough game to Montana State. The Fighting Illini looked good in the trenches in their season opener and should be able to have similair success moving the ball on the ground. I'll take Illinois at home by a touchdown. 

Illinois Fighting Illini -7

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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