Illinois has a tall task in front of them but a win over Michigan would inch them towards a possible Big Ten West title and a shot at the conference championship.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan Wolverines
Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 12:00 PM EST at Michigan Stadium
About Week 11
After winning 7 of their first 8 games and landing as the No. 16 team in the nation, the Illini have fallen on tough times. An upset loss to Michigan State followed by last week’s 31-24 setback to Purdue, at home no less, has cost Illinois their seat at the head of the Big Ten West table.
They now share the top spot with the Boilermakers and, if both end with identical conference records, then Purdue would win the tiebreaker by virtue of head-to-head records.
Illinois quarterback, Tommy DeVito, was soundly outdueled by Purdue’s Aidan O'Connell as the former passed for 201 yards and one touchdown while the latter connected on 25-of-40 for 237 yards and 3 TD strikes including a 12-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass that put Purdue ahead for good.
Junior tailback Chase Brown did most of the heavy lifting for Illinois' offense, rushing for 98 of the team’s 102 yards, including a pair of touchdown plunges. DeVito was harassed throughout the contest and tossed his first pick in 6 weeks, dating back to Illinois’ 24-3 victory over Virginia.
"When we can't follow through on doing the fundamentals of that philosophy, complimentary football, efficient on early downs, take advantage of manageable clock situations, all of those things, if we don't do that, we're going to have failure," Illinois' coach Bret Bielema said. "That's what we've seen the last two weeks."
Big Blue Proud and True
Michigan is sitting proudly atop one of the toughest conferences in the nation with a perfect 10-0 record and ranked 3rd amongst the best college football has to offer. Big Blue hasn’t been a bad bet at the betting windows either, going 6-3-1 against the number.
In their last effort, the Wolverines wound up trouncing Nebraska, 34-3, but that margin of victory was only good enough to get them a push as they were installed as 31-point home favorites. Michigan had covered their previous 3 and had it not been for Jake Moody’s 43-yard field goal with just over a minute to play, the Michigan backers would have lost their money.
Blake Corum was the star of the show with 162 yards on 28 carries and 1 touchdown to boot. Sophomore J.J. McCarthy was once again more of a game manager than a game-changer, as he tossed for only 129 yards but did have a pair of touchdown passes.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked after the game about whether the offense is leaning too much on the run. “Yeah, you balance it. If you’re gonna get in five yards a carry, six yards of carry it’s tough to just say let’s throw it. But yeah, put it on me. I mean, I’ll take accountability that the pass stats weren’t higher than they were. And I’d be happy to be 10-0 and move on to Illinois.”
- Fighting Illini are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Fighting Illini are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight-up loss.
- Fighting Illini are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- The underdog is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
- Fighting Illini are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Illinois vs. Michigan: Game Prediction and Picks
These teams haven’t faced each other in 3 years but for what it’s worth, Illinois has covered in their last 2 meetings against Michigan, most recently in a 42-25 loss as 24.5-point home underdogs. And this one looks much the same although Illinois is a bit more competitive than their 2019 edition.
Michigan is the better team, no doubt, but they will also be looking ahead to “The Game” against archrival Ohio State at The Shoe. You can’t overestimate how big this game is between the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the nation with the loser possibly bounced from CFP consideration.
The line is too long in my opinion as the public will be betting on Michigan just because they are a household name and happen to be one of the top teams in college football. Illinois has a terrific defense and the Wolverines don’t pass all that much, averaging 208.9 yards per game which places them 95th in the nation.
Of course, Michigan’s defense is extraordinary, ranked 1st in points allowed surrendering just 11.2 points per game. But I don’t see this being a blowout, as it feels like it will be a contest of wills between 2 rushing attacks against 2 excellent run-stop units.
Take the points and go low at the best sportsbooks in this one.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.