Update: This game has been cancelled due to COVID-19
The third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will look to move closer to their ninth consecutive Big Ten Conference divisional championship and fourth straight conference championship when they take on the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday. Ohio State (4-0) is coming off a 42-35 win over No. 9 Indiana on Saturday. Illinois (2-3), tied for fifth in the Big Ten West with Minnesota at 2-3, is coming off a 41-23 victory at Nebraska this past weekend. The Fighting Illini have won two straight.
Kickoff from Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill., is set for noon ET. Ohio State leads the all-time series 68-30-4. The Buckeyes are 28-point favorites in the latest Ohio State vs. Illinois odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 70.5. Before making any Illinois vs. Ohio State picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It is also a sizzling 44-23 on all top-rated picks through 12 weeks of the 2020 college football season, returning over $1,200 in profit already. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Ohio State vs. Illinois spread: Ohio State -28
- Ohio State vs. Illinois over-under: 71.5 points
- Ohio State vs. Illinois money line: Ohio State -4000, Illinois +1400
- OSU: Junior QB Justin Fields has 54 touchdown passes in his 18-game career
- ILL: Averaging 32 points per game in its two victories compared to just 15 in its three losses.
Why Ohio State can cover
The Buckeyes have one of the most explosive offenses in the nation and are averaging 45.3 points per game. A big reason for that success is Fields, who has completed 79.6 percent of his passes. He is 90-for-113 for 908 yards and 13 touchdowns with three interceptions. Fields has also rushed for three scores. He has thrown for 300 yards or more in three straight games, including a five-touchdown performance against Rutgers three weeks ago.
Also leading the offense is sophomore running back Master Teague III, who leads the Buckeyes in rushing with 380 yards on 73 carries (5.2 average). He has scored six touchdowns. In two-plus seasons at Ohio State, Teague has carried 225 times for 1,275 yards (5.6 average) and 11 touchdowns. He finished as the Big Ten's seventh-leading rusher as a redshirt freshman in 2019, playing behind J.K. Dobbins.
Why Illinois can cover
Despite that, the Buckeyes are not a lock to cover the Ohio State vs. Illinois spread. That's because the Fighting Illini have forced eight turnovers the past two games, including five at Nebraska last Saturday. Senior linebacker Jake Hansen continues to be a beast, leading the Illini with 44 tackles, including 22 solo, with one sack for three yards, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Against the Cornhuskers, he had seven stops, including three solo, with 2 ½ tackles for loss, an interception and one fumble recovery.
Offensively, quarterback Brandon Peters appears to have secured the starting job after completing 18 of 25 passes (72 percent) for 205 yards and a touchdown against Nebraska. He also rushed eight times for 36 yards (4.5 average) and one score. The transfer from Michigan, started 11 games as a redshirt junior last season, completing 152 of 275 passes for 1,884 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also carried 74 times for 213 yards and three touchdowns.
How to make Ohio State vs. Illinois picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total. In fact, it says Ohio State backs will be held to just two touchdowns on the ground, while Peters will throw for less than 150 yards and one score. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Illinois vs. Ohio State? And which side of the spread cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Illinois vs. Ohio State spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $3,600 on its top-rated college football spread picks, and find out.