Illinois Cincinnati Odds
The Fighting Illini of Illinois and the Cincinnati Bearcats both had high hopes coming into this season. The two teams’ seasons have gone in very different paths, with Cincinnati in the national title hunt and Illinois at the bottom of the weak Big 10 conference. Both teams will start different quarterbacks than they did in their previous game, with the Bearcats starting Tony Pike and Illinois starting Juice Williams.
Why Cincinnati Covers
The Cincinnati Bearcats are 10-0 on the season and they sit just behind TCU in 5th spot in the BCS standings. It is still a remote possibility that if the Bearcats win out they could play for a national title. The key for them is winning their two remaining games. Tony Pike will be inserted back into the starting lineup in this game. Zach Collaros has done a terrific job as the fill in for Pike, but this is still Pike’s team when he is healthy. Pike has thrown 17 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions on the season. Collaros will likely see some playing time too, which will make it tough to game plan for this Cincinnati offense and their different looks. Often overlooked are the great running back tandem the Bearcats have in Isiah Pead and Jacob Ramsey. Both of them are averaging more than 6 yards per carry and keep the defense honest for the Bearcats and their spread offense. The defense had been good most of the year, but of late it has allowed too many yards on the ground. In the last 3 games they are allowing 168 yards per game on the ground.
Why Illinois Covers
The Fighting Illini would really like to ruin the season of the Bearcats and put a nice ending on an otherwise forgettable season. Juice Williams is in his senior campaign and he has proven very inconsistent at quarterback, but so have all the quarterbacks at Illinois. Williams has thrown for only 6 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 57.6%. The Illini offense is only scoring 20 points per game. The rushing attack has been pretty good in the last few weeks as Jason Ford and Mikel LeShoure have stepped in and done a nice job in the backfield. The defense of the Fighting Illini hasn’t been too bad, but with an offense scoring only 20 points per game, they haven’t had much room for error.
The odds for this weekend show the Bearcats as 20 point home favorites in this one. The Fighting Illini are a miserable 1-10 against the spread in their last 11 non-conference games and 3-10 against the spread in their last 13 games overall.
Clearly the Bearcats are the team with much more to play for in this one. I don’t expect you’ll see many predictions showing the Illini ruining Cincinnati’s perfect season. This will also be senior day so the Bearcats should come ready to play. Cincinnati should be able to rack up plenty of yards on this Illini defense, so the key will probably be the Bearcats defense against Illinois. If Cincinnati can stop the run well and make Illinois beat them through the air, this game should be over pretty quickly. The Bearcats should handle Illinois in this one