Wisconsin vs Illinois Game Preview, Current Odds, and Free Spread Prediction

5th-ranked Wisconsin (7-0) is on a roll coming into another Big 10 match-up on the road versus Illinois (2-5). The Badgers look to stay undefeated against the Illini in Champaign, Illinois this Saturday, with game time set for noon EST. The game can be seen on ESPN.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Game Preview and Vegas Odds

It may be true that the Wisconsin Badgers haven’t played any tough competition yet this season. But they certainly have taken care of business against the lightweights. The 22-29 collective record of their opponents so far will only get worse with 2-5 Illinois welcoming them in this weekend.

The Badgers have their next Heisman-caliber running back in Jonathan Taylor, who’s compiled over 1,000 rush yards and has 11 touchdowns on the ground. And craziest of all, he’s only a freshman.

Their defense has continued to thrive in all facets, from pass-rushing led by DE/LB Garret Dooley, to the impressive coverage team.

Illinois hasn’t been so dynamic on defense, despite coach Lovie Smith being a guru on that side of the ball. They’ve lost four straight conference games this season, and their last five contests overall. Only against Minnesota last week did they finally look competitive on defense, holding Minnesota to only 47 pass yards.

Unfortunately, things don’t go so well for them up front when trying to counter the rushing attack. They’ll be heavy underdogs at 26 points come this Saturday.

Free Big 10 Point Spread Prediction: Wisconsin -26

The Badgers have something Illinois will have no answer for, and that’s Taylor. If you think you’ve seen him run wild before, just wait. Putting up 249 on Nebraska and 219 on Purdue can’t even compare to what he could do to the Fighting Illini.

They are dead-last in the Big 10 against the run, and aren’t much better getting into the backfield for the QB either. When Badger QB Alex Hornibrook drops back, he’ll be comfortable in the pocket, as Wisconsin has given up just over a sack-per-game, and Illinois is tied for 84th QB takedowns.

This offense will be in their typical groove of running it down opponents’ throats and thereby creating opportunities downfield. The stifling defense will do the rest.

Illinois does have the son of an ex-NFL quarterback, Jeff Georgia Jr. But he hasn’t exactly been his dad’s mirror image this year, supplying only four touchdown passes to his seven interceptions. He’s got time to grow, as he’s only a sophomore. But playing the Badger defense (ranked 6th), with names like Dooley, T.J. Edwards, and D’Cota Dixon, will cause some growing pains.

If there had been any hope for Illinois staying anywhere in the vicinity score-wise, it would’ve been with the legs of RB Mike Epstein. He had taken the load of the carries as only a freshman, and was making a huge difference. He went over 100 yards against Iowa on only seven carries before hurting his foot. He’ll be out for the rest of the year.

With the once-explosive rushing attack gone, Illinois will be inept on offense. And with Taylor running against them and Wisconsin being 8-1 ATS in their last nine road games, this could easily stretch well beyond the spread.

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