The Iowa Hawkeyes return home to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini in a game where both teams are looking to get their first Big 10 conference victory of the season. Will the Hawkeyes break their two game losing streak or will Illinois stun Iowa with an upset victory? Kickoff inside Kinnick Stadium is at 12 PM ET.
Illinois (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) suffered a blowout loss at home last week to Nebraska. The Cornhuskers put up 411 total yards and won 28-6. Illinois will have a tough time in Iowa this week as the Hawkeyes defense is a step up from the Nebraska defense. Plus, Iowa City is a tough place to play at for visitors.
Iowa (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) is coming off a tough road loss at Michigan State where they had a chance late in the game to tie it up, despite playing bad football for most of the game. Iowa has dropped 2 in a row after starting the season 3-0. The Hawkeyes look to get their first conference victory of the season and have a great chance at doing so against Illinois.
The Iowa Hawkeyes opened as a 20 point favorite. The line has since come down to 18. The Over/Under opened at 43.5 total points and remains unchanged.
After watching the Hawkeyes struggle on the road at Michigan State last week, it’s hard to jump on this large of a spread. But, Iowa is a different animal at home. They’re a better team that’s only allowed 38 total points in 3 games and that’s including the high powered Penn State offense. Iowa is 2-1 at home and it took a last second play from PSU to win that game 21-19. So, we will chalk up their 17-10 loss to MSU last week as just a bad game.
I see Iowa getting back on track at home this week against an overmatched Illinois team. The Fighting Illini can’t seem to fight their way into the endzone as they’re only scoring 18 points per game. The biggest problem for the team is that they give up 25 points per game and 427 total yards per game. They’re getting gashed on the ground for 179 yards per game and I see that happening again this week.
Iowa’s talented running back Akrum Wadley has 368 rushing yards and 3 TDs on the season. He’s also totaled 244 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Wadley should have a big game against an inferior defense. In fact, this could end up being his best game of the season. I can see Wadley gaining at least 150 total yards and 2 TD’s in this one.
Iowa’s quarterback Nathan Stanley has 1038 passing yards and 12 passing TDs compared to just 1 interception. Illinois will struggle to get pressure on Stanley, which will allow him to pick apart a defense that gives up 248 passing yards per game.
Last week, Illinois was held to 199 total yards at home vs Nebraska. It was another anemic offensive display for a team that is struggling to put points on the board and gain yards. If they can only put up less than 200 yards at home vs Nebraska, then I don’t see them reaching that total on the road against Iowa.
Illinois is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games, 8-17 ATS in their last 25 road games and 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games at Iowa. The Fighting Illini is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against teams with a winning record and 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games as an underdog. Iowa is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 home games.
Iowa is 8-2 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings against Illinois, including winning the last 3 games. In their 2016 game, Iowa defeated Illinois 28-0 on the road. I see a similar result happening this week as Iowa should easily win this game. Look for Josey Jewell and the Hawkeyes defense to dominate the weak Illinois offense and hold them to below their 18 ppg average. On the flipside, Stanley and Wadley should combine to steamroll Illinois this week. I can see Iowa winning this one 34-7. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they shut out the Fighting Illini this week.