Ohio State Buckeyes (3) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Picks and Predictions

November 23, 2020

Date:Saturday, November 28th
Time:12:00 PM ET
Network:FS1
Venue:Memorial Stadium
Spread:Ohio State -28
O/U:68.5

The 4-0 Ohio State Buckeyes will go on the road Saturday to face off with the 2-3 Illinois Fighting Illini at 12:00 PM ET in Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes come in as 28-point favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points with a 68.5 over/under. You can tune in on FS1. The Buckeyes were challenged by the Hoosiers last week and won the game by just seven points. They figure to win this one comfortably, but they must play a lot better if they want to cover this huge spread. Let’s dive in and breakdown how this one will go and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out my other CFB Picks and Predictions for this packed weekend slate of games.

Trends

  • Buckeyes are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • Fighting Illini are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
  • Over is 5-0-1 in Buckeyes last 6 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
  • Over is 5-1 in Buckeyes last 6 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.

When The Ohio State Buckeyes Have The Ball

The Buckeyes flew through the first three weeks of the season and won by a combined score of 139-69 over Nebraska, Penn State, and Rutgers. They then met the Indiana Hoosiers, who gave them a rest test and the Buckeyes walked away with just a seven-point victory. With that being said, the final score didn’t tell the entire story. The Buckeyes controlled the entire game and it never felt like there was a risk of them actually losing. Still, the Buckeyes have to get out of their own way if they want to cover a 28-point spread against anyone.

Junior QB Justin Fields was near-perfect before last week, but he didn’t show up against Indiana. Sure, he threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns on top of 78 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also threw three interceptions and nearly lost the game for Ohio State. The Buckeyes can’t afford the turnovers and Fields must tighten things up moving forward. He’s up to 1,208 yards and 12 touchdowns through four games.

The Buckeyes won last week because of halfback Master Teague III. He carried it 26 times for 169 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He looked like a classic Ohio State running back and you can be sure Teague will be involved heavily from here on out. Trey Sermon will compliment him, though he saw just nine carries last game and Teague might be taking over the backfield altogether. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are two of the best receivers in the country and both will go for 100+ yards in this game with at least a touchdown each.

When The Illinois Fighting Illini Have The Ball

After losing three straight games to open the season, the Fighting Illini have beat Rutgers and Nebraska in back-to-back weeks. Illinois hasn’t beat a great team, but they have looked a lot better recently and the offense looked exceptional a week ago. They put up 41 points against Nebraska and a total of 490 offensive yards. The Buckeyes defense looked susceptible a week ago and the Illini will look to keep the points flowing.

The Illini gave Brandon Peters the helm after losing three straight and he’s responded nicely. He’s a dual-threat QB that’s racked up 292 passing yards, 111 rushing yards, and a pair of TD’s in two weeks. Peters has taken care of the ball and he’s looked a lot better than he has in past years. He doesn’t have an ego and is great at getting the ball into the hands of the many Illinois weapons.

Speaking of weapons, Illinois has plenty of them. There are four guys on this offense that I can see playing in the NFL, and it gives their offense versatility. Two of those guys come in the backfield with Chase Brown and Mike Epstein both averaging six-plus yards per carry. Epstein leads the pack with four touchdowns and is also the best pass-catchers. Wide receivers Josh Imatorbhebhe and Daniel Barker are the only two guys with double-digit catches and Imatorbhebhe can break a game wide open.

The only way to beat Ohio State is for your defense to step up in a big way. The Fighting Illini have to force turnovers here and they can’t let Ohio State have their way offensively. MLB Jake Hansen is the best player on this defense and he will be tasked with slowing down Master Teague and the run game. Good luck as I don’t expect a very happy Ohio State team.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Ohio State -28

The Buckeyes are going to come out on fire in this game. Justin Fields is not happy with his performance a week ago and he’ll be looking to have a huge game. The Buckeyes also won’t slow down early as they must look good after winning by just seven points against Indiana. This is a big number and the Illini have a solid offense, but I’m not sure Brandon Peters will have much success moving the ball here. Give me Ohio State to win this game with ease and I like them to cover the 28 points.

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Over 68.5
Final Score Prediction: Ohio State 52, Illinois 17

I like Ohio State to run the score up a bit here and I’m expecting around 50 points or so out of them. Illinois is by no means a lethal attack themselves, but they have found a way to score the football and they put up 40+ points a week ago. Over 68.5 is the only way to go here, though the Buckeyes against the spread is my favorite bet in this game.

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