Illinois @ Kansas
Illinois +3½ -107 over Kansas

Posted at 4:00 PM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle +3½ -107  BET365 +3½ -110 Sportsinteraction  +3½ -110   888Sport  +3½ -110 

Illinois +3½ over Kansas

7:30 PM EST. There is a reason we rarely break down the X’s and O’s unless they are relevant in the grand scheme of mining for value, which is the case tonight, as there has been a concentrated effort to bash an Illinois defense that struggled in Week 1 against “inferior” competition in Toledo, in which the Illinini were favored by -7½-points, but only won that game on a last-second field goal, 30-28. This early in the year, when a significant favorite does not cover that significant number, the market can turn sour quickly.

In the case of Illinois, that sour turn has already begun after it had no chance to cover that game against the Rockets, as they were down 12-7 at halftime, and up just 20-19 headed to the fourth quarter. The biggest lead the Illini had in that game came at the 9:47 mark when they went up 7-0. As for how that game ended, the Illini should thank their lucky stars, and quarterback Luke Altmyer, who saved the day for Illinois, as he drove the field with his team on his back to set up that 29-yard-field goal, in which kicker Caleb Griffin split the uprights for the win.

On the Kansas side of this coin, the Jayhawks took care of business against FCS Missouri State in a game they won 48-17. On the surface, it looks like just another Week 1 warm-up game with Kansas running roughshod over a never-was, but if you were following along in that game, you know that the Jayhawks were in a dog fight until they went on a 21-0 run in the fourth quarter to pull away for good. Yes, it’s a 60-minute game, but if Kansas spends 45 minutes f**king around again tonight, they’re going to find out just how dangerous a game that is to play over time.

Week 2 is the best time to take advantage of over and underreactions based on Week 1’s results and this game fits that narrative to a T. That supposedly porous Illini defense was actually perceived to be rather stout in most preseason predictions despite the departure of defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, who was replaced by secondary coach Aaron Henry, whom head coach Bret Bielema promoted from within. With only a name change and not a scheme change, is it so off the charts to expect a better effort tonight from a unit that was the stingiest defense in the country last year, allowing just 12.8 Points Per Game (PPG)?

If last week’s results weren’t enough to overreact to, and they are, by the way, the Jayhawks will be welcoming starting QB Jalon Daniels, who sat out Week 1 because he’s held together with toothpicks and scotch tape. Daniels has spent his collegiate career nursing one injury or another. Last season was no different, as Daniels missed time with a shoulder injury. Last week it was his back. What’s next? Who knows, but there will be something. Maybe his neck? An ankle? You get the idea. With so many overreactions potentially working in our favor here, we are not going to hesitate to attack this inflated line in a game the Illini can absolutely win outright, but we’ll take the points, just in case we get unlucky and need them.


Our Pick

Illinois +3½ -107 (Risking 2.14 units - To Win: 2.00)