Purdue at Illinois Odds
|Purdue Odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Illinois Odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-265/+210 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||59 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
Home openers have gone well for the Illinois Fighting Illini as they’ve won their last 23 Memorial Stadium curtain-raisers dating back to 1997. The friendly confines of Champaign will be a welcome sight for Illinois after its brutal showing a week ago in a 45-7 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers where the Illini managed just 4.64 yards per play and had eight first downs in total.
In come the Purdue Boilermakers fresh off of a home upset over the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Boilermakers won that game despite the fact that they were without their top wide receiver, starting running back and their head coach against the Hawkeyes.
Purdue has won three of the last four meetings in this matchup, though were beaten soundly by the Illini at home last season, 24-6, in a game that saw Illinois close as 10-point underdogs.
At this point, it is reasonably safe to assume that we will not see Rondale Moore in uniform on Saturday as wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator JaMarcus Shephard clarified that the star wideout isn’t even practicing at the moment.
Having Moore in the lineup will be a big boost but it wasn’t a problem against Iowa as David Bell stepped up with 13 receptions for 121 yards and three touchdowns against the Hawkeyes.
Sophomore quarterback Aidan O’Connell was a surprise start, beating out two perceived favorites in Austin Burton and Jack Plummer, and played well with a 62% completion rate and three scores, though his 5.6 yards per attempt is far lower than the average of Purdue QBs under Brohm since 2017.
To our surprise, the Boilermakers also got it done on the ground last Saturday, even without the services of starting running back King Doerue who was out due to injury. Veteran Zander Horvath totaled 129 yards on 21 attempts against the Hawkeyes, with much of that success credited to him as he had 81 yards after contact.
The Boilermakers offensive line failed to generate much of a push with a 24 percent stuff rate and just 2.50 line yards according to Football Outsiders.
On the surface it looked like Purdue’s defense held up against Iowa by only allowing 20 points, but its performance was aided by two costly Hawkeye turnovers that kept the score lower than it should have been.
Defensively, while the Boilermakers held Iowa to just 20 points, they were aided by two costly Hawkeye turnovers that kept the score lower than it should’ve been.
Iowa gained 460 yards of total offense, averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a team and threw for 265 passing yards with a first-year starting quarterback. Purdue also produced just one sack from the defensive line and failed to generate any havoc (9.33%) – coincidentally the same rate as its opponent this week.
Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illini are losers of their last four games dating back to last season and the lack of success on offense is a major reason why, as they’ve scored just four offensive touchdowns in that stretch.
In the last three games, Illinois has combined for just 503 passing yards, including only 87 yards from quarterback Brandon Peters in the blowout loss to the Badgers.
Peters isn’t the only one deserving of blame as wide receivers struggled with drops vs. Wisconsin and the offensive line allowed pressures (12) on nearly half of Peters’ dropbacks.
Offensive coordinator Rod Smith indicated this week to the media that Peters might get more work on the ground after rushing for 75 yards on seven attempts against the Badgers and has been the team’s leading rusher in the last three games.
Should Peters find more time in the pocket this week, and we expect him to as indicated above with how Purdue failed to pressure the QB against Iowa, the Illini have plenty of talent at the receiver spot to take advantage of opposing secondaries with three talented transfers in the starting line in Josh Imatorbhebhe (USC), Brian Hightower (Miami) and Donny Navarro (JUCO).
Betting Analysis & Pick
Windy conditions expected on Saturday at or around 14.6 MPH with some weather sites showing upwards of 19 MPH. Over the past 15+ years, games played in average win speeds of 13 MPH or more have gone 551-424-31 to the under over the past 15+ years – a 56.5% win rate. If bumped up to 17 MPH, that number jumps to 58.9%.
For two teams that don’t run the football all that effectively, winds will play a factor on Saturday, so I like the Under 59 in a matchup that has produced three unders in a row.
Pick: Under 59