Wyoming @ Illinois
Wyoming +14 -110 over Illinois

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Posted at 9:15 AM EST and odds are subject to change.

Wyoming +14 over Illinois

Memorial Stadium – Champaign, IL

4:00 PM EST. Not to sound cliché, but Week 0 truly brings a lot of unknowns. As such, one wants to be going with the best of it and playing the Illini in this situation would be doing anything but that. The Cowboys of Wyoming opened as a 10-point pup. Very quickly the market has bet the Illini up to its present asking price (+14 at the time of writing) and that in itself equates to value. Before we dive any deeper, playing Illinois right now is doing so at a bad number and that is always an ill-advised practice. However, the mechanics of this spot render the Cowboys to have that much more equity.

First, there is the low over/under (43), which suggests that this game will not see fireworks, instead, it is likely to end up being a rock fight. It’s rarely a good look to be laying significant points in such a contest and then being asked to lay an additional four points compared to the opening price, adds to the appeal of taking back all these points. At the time of writing, Illinois has not officially announced a starting quarterback (though it is expected to be Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito). Neither has Wyoming; the difference is that Illinois is expected to win this game by nearly two converted touchdowns. It would not be a best practice to dive into such murky waters. Nevertheless, that is exactly what the market has done and some experts have been bold to tab the Illini as the “Play of Week 0”.

We could chalk this up to Group of Five versus Power Five bias. Illinois is a B1G constituent, albeit a featherweight compared to some of its cohorts. Wyoming comes from the Mountain West Conference. To enhance this narrative, the Boys themselves are 1-4 ATS in their last five against the B1G and it is often trends like that which sell tickets even if they have no relevance to the game itself. In fact, if anything it puts Wyoming in position to be undervalued. Then there is Wyoming itself, which has lost a lot of firepower to attrition via the transfer portal, as quarterbacks Sean Chambers and Levi Williams along with standout running back Xazavian Valladay have hung up their boots in Laramie and shipped off to greener pastures. This is another huge point that the media and market eat up, thus giving the ‘Boys no chance in this game. However, what the market fails to recognize is this is exactly what veteran coach Craig Bohl will use to get his team fired up. Essentially, the Cowboys will be “free-rolling” and as we know from previous experiences, an underdog with nothing to lose is a very dangerous team to fade. Even worse is going against said team and laying extra lumber to do so and that’s exactly what happens if one gets on board with the University of Illinois in this spot.

Our Pick

Wyoming +14 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)

Texas A&M -2 -107 over Arkansas
Iowa State -2½ -110 over Baylor
Buffalo +195 over Eastern Michigan
Texas Tech +7 -110 over Texas
Louisiana Tech +13 -110 over South Alabama
Oregon State +185 over USC