Ohio State @ Illinois NCAA Football Betting Preview

Posted by Daniel Strum on November 14, 2015 in

The undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes will have sophomore signal-caller J.T. Barrett back under center when they visit the Illinois Fighting Illini’ for their Week 11 Big Ten College Football Odds Battle, but will the defending national champs fire on all cylinders and cover the spread after Barrett was suspended for last week’s game after being arrested for driving under the influence? Let’s find out now!

How To Bet the Buckeyes @ Fighting Illini Ncaa Football Odds, TV & Game Info

When: Saturday, November 14, 12:00 PM ET
Where: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois
TV Stream: ABCSports
NCAAF Odds: Ohio State -16.5

Why Bet on the Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0 SU, 3-6 ATS)

The Buckeyes picked up a hard-fought 24-18 win over feisty Minnesota, though they never came close to covering the spread as a 23.5-point home favorite just as I predicted. Junior quarterback Cardale Jones completed 12 of 22 passes for 187 yards and one touchdown while running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 114 yards and one score on 26 carries to help the Buckeyes record their 22nd consecutive win. Still, Meyer has opted to go with Barrett moving forward. “(Barrett) will be the starter unless he does not have a good week of practice,” coach Urban Meyer said. “So that’s (the policy) really every week.”

Barrett pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a single count of driving while impaired and was sentenced to a three-day driver-intervention program, fined $400 and had his license suspended for six months. “It’s a mistake made – a serious mistake – by a kid that’s really lived most of his life mistake-free,” Meyer said at a press conference. “He’s a kid who’s human.”

The Buckeyes are ranked 19th in scoring (37.3 ppg) and a stellar sixth in points allowed (15.0 ppg).

Why Bet on the Illinois Fighting Illini (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS)

The Fighting Illini’ snapped its three-game losing streak by pounding the snot out of Purdue in its 48-14 Week 10 win while easily covering the spread as a 3.5-point home favorite. Junior quarterback Wes Lunt completed 19 of 33 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns to lead Illinois to victory while the running back duo of freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn and senior Josh Ferguson torched the Boilermakers for 180 yards and two score and 133 yards respectively. “You can tell the difference in our offense when Fergie is in there,” Illinois head coach Bill Cubit said. “It’s a little bit different of an offense when he is in there. Ke’Shawn played really well, too.”

Illinois is ranked 91st in scoring (25.8 ppg) and a solid 34th in points allowed (21.7 ppg).

My Expert Game Analysis, Prediction & Pick:

61 percent of the betting public likes Ohio State to cover the spread as a nearly two-touchdown-plus road favorite, but I don’t. Ohio State is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games and 1-4 ATS in their L/5 games following an ATS loss. Illinois has compiled an impressive 5-2 ATS mark in their last seven conference games and the home team in this Big Ten rivalry has gone 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.

I like the Fighting Illini’s defense and I believe they’ll find a way to keep the final score close at home.

My Pick: Ohio State 27 Illinois 17