After all the excitement of the opening week of the college football season, the bigger schools get to relax a little in Week 2, as most of them are going against much lesser opposition this time around. While that may make for a relatively weak schedule, there are some match-ups that really jump off the page. One that catches the eye sees the North Carolina Tar Heels head into Champaign, Illinois to face the Fighting Illini in what I believe will be a very close game. UNC are trying to get back on track after a double digit loss to Georgia in Week 1, while Illinois will be looking to keep things rolling after routing Murray State in their first game under new head coach Lovie Smith. The bookies have the Tar Heels as a 9-point favorite heading into this one, but we all know how tough it can be to win on the road, especially when you are looking an 0-2 start to the season square in the face. Let’s take a closer look at this one.
North Carolina Tar Heels Vs Illinois Fighting Illini Winning Favorites
When: Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 PM EST
Where: Memorial Stadium, Champaign
Live Stream: CBS Sports Network
NCAAF Odds: North Carolina -6
Why bet on the North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels were not awful against the Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome last weekend, but it was the same old problems for them on defense. Nick Chubb has carved up a lot of defenses in his college career, and it really didn’t surprise anyone that he was able to churn out 222 yards against a Tar Heels run defense that is as full of holes as Swiss cheese. On the bright side, QB Mitch Trubisky looked the part, and you get the feeling that he will do much better against lesser teams this season. The biggest threat that UNC has is the double running threat of Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan, as they combined for 152 yards on just 16 carries in Week 1.
Why bet on the Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois looked good in a 52-3 hammering of Murray State in Week 1, but they will be well aware that the opposition will be a little tougher this time around. If the Fighting Illini are to pull off the upset in this one, they are going to have to stuff the run the way they did in the opening week when they held Murray State to -10 yards on the ground. We already know that Lovie Smith will have his defense blitzing on a regular basis, and that may be enough to get Turbisky off his game early on. Illinois forced three turnovers last week, and a similar type of performance from the defense could give them a chance to get the win late on here.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
I am looking at the 9-point spread on this one and thinking that it might be just a little too high. I do think that UNC will come through with the win, but I also think it will be close.