Illinois @ Indiana
Indiana -1½ -106 over Illinois

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Posted at 1:30 PM EST and odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle has the best price here with Indiana -1½ -106

Indiana -1½ over Illinois

Memorial Stadium - Bloomington, Indiana

8:00 PM EST. Do we like Indiana -1½? Absolutely not but we’ll reiterate that it does not matter what we like because we are not in the prediction business. If we were, the Illini would be the clear choice here. How can they not be? For one, Illinois played last week so the market/media has had a chance to see them. What they saw was complete domination in a sleepy win over Wyoming by a final score of 38-6. Illinois did whatever it wanted to (well sort of, more on that later).

Meanwhile, the last time anyone saw the Hoosiers was last November when they went into Purdue and got steamrolled 44-7. Indiana lost its last eight games of the year and ended up with two wins all season. They lost their last four games by scores of 29-7 (Michigan), 38-3 (Rutgers), 35-14 Minnesota and 44-7 (Purdue). Man, you talk about recency bias and it is screaming the Illini here. It gets even worse, as Indiana averaged a mere 10 points per game in Big-Ten play and were last year’s biggest disappointment in college football.

From a covering standpoint, the Hoosiers have one Against the Spread (ATS) cover in its last 12 games so the market is generally sick of ripping up tickets when betting on this squad. Meanwhile, the Illini had an easy 21-point cover last week and are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games. If we’re buying low, Indiana might be the best buy low team in the country while the Illini might be the best sell-high team in Week 1.

So begins a pivotal season for HC Tim Allen, whose work in 2020 won him national coach-of-the-year honors, built the best recruiting class in program history and lent a program with four bowl berths in six years the distinct impression that it was prepared to become something greater than its unexceptional past. All that momentum evaporated beginning this time a year ago, when a disastrous opener at Iowa paved the road to a disastrous season, one made more painful to Allen’s program and its fans because it was expected to be quite the opposite. After so many years of cynicism and resignation, IU football fans had finally been given reason to believe, only to be handed their worst season in a decade.

Back to Indiana’s 44-7 loss last year to close out the season against Purdue. The Sunday morning after, Allen opened his office door at Memorial Stadium to a half-dozen of his team’s most-experienced, most-vocal leaders. They had conceived the meeting together the night before, on the bus ride back from West Lafayette. So firm were they in their conviction, the group thought about asking Allen for the meeting Saturday night. When they did sit down that Sunday, they laid out all their reasons why the season had collapsed the way it did, and all the ways in which they were prepared to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. Allen countered with his. From there, they embarked on an offseason of brutal and collective honesty. Players spoke openly to one another about how and why the Hoosiers lost the competitiveness that had underpinned the previous half-decade. Allen opened up. Everyone confronted their failure together. Much of that soul searching played out behind closed doors. In an uncommon move, Allen shut down spring access beyond post-practice Zoom sessions. That loosened by fall camp but, with a new offensive coordinator, a remade staff and a defense back in Allen’s play-calling hands, the Hoosiers still hold much close to the vest. We probably won’t know, for example, who Allen’s starting quarterback is until Indiana’s first offensive series Friday night. After spending the offseason between 2020 and 2021 happy to talk about hopes and dreams, the Hoosiers resolved to let their performance deliver the message this year starting here.

What the market will see is a steal taking back points with the Illini. This number has been dropping and it might even drop some more. Nobody is even discussing how Illinois allowed Wyoming to post 194 yards on the ground last week on 5.9 yards per carry. All the market sees is results (wins and losses) and then it reacts to it. This is exactly the type of game that we look for because it checks just about every box, thus, we're going to give major weight to a team whose stock is so low to start the year that we get to scoop them up at a bottom level price.



Our Pick

Indiana -1½ -106 (Risking 2.12 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