Ohio State has retained its position in the College Football Playoff. Barely. They are no longer the top ranked team in the nation–in any poll, except for the Coaches. Any showing of weakness could end Ohio State’s dream of fighting for the championship.
This week the college football odds list Ohio State as 17-point favorites to beat Illinois. Can the Illini lay a season ending blow by upseting the defending national champs and effectively knock them out of playoff contention?
A Closer Look At The College Football Week 11 Ohio State Buckeyes Vs Illinois Illini Odds, My Predictions, Pick & Betting Preview
What: No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) at Illinois Illini (5-4)
When: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Kickoff: 12:00 PM ET
Where: Champaign, IL
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Weather: 49° F | Passing Clouds
Spread: Ohio State -17
Moneyline: Ohio State -850 vs Illinois +575
Game Total: 55
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Ohio State vs Illinois
Why Bet On #3 Ohio State (-16) to Beat Illinois
Ohio State gets J.T. Barrett back.
Ohio State beat Minnesota 28 to 14 as a -23.5 point favorite without starting quarterback J.T. Barrett. Cardale Jones, who led the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff last season, completed only 12 of 22 passes for 187 yards and a TD. The team amassed a paltry 376 yards of offense — its fewest in Big Ten play. That’s no way for the top team in the nation to play.
“It’s never an easy call because one guy had his 11th win, 250 all-purpose yards,” Meyer said of Jones against Minnesota. “(But) I think it’s the right thing at this time.”
The Buckeyes need to play Barrett if they have any hope of making it all the way to the CFP. Ohio State’s Barrett is able to both run and pass effectively. He’s also seeing the ball much better than Jones is at this point in the season.
“(Barrett) will be the starter unless he does not have a good week of practice,” coach Urban Meyer said. “So that’s (the policy) really every week.”
With Barrett starting, Ohio State should have no issues scoring points against Illinois on Saturday. Against Rutgers, a 49 to 7 win, Barrett completed 77.8% of his passes for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns. His per yard average ended up 12.4. That’s awesome.
Why Bet On Illinois to Beat #3 Ohio State (-16)
The Illini rushing attack can control the clock and score vs the Buckeyes.
Based on stats, Ohio State has one of the top defenses in college football. The Buckeyes allow less than 165 yards passing, less than 140 yards rushing, and less than 15 points per game.
Illinois is going to have to be exceptional in order to score points against such a stout defense. But, Illinois might be exceptional on Nov. 14. Ohio State is very good at subduing an opposing team’s passing attack. But, allowing close to 140 yards rushing on the ground per game could lead to disaster against Illinois.
Last week versus Purdue, Illinois was able to finally uncork its rushing attack, racking up 382 yards after averaging 67.2 through its first four conference games. Freshman rusher Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran 16 times for a season-high 180 yards and two TDs. The game also marked the return of RB Josh Ferguson had 133 yards on 12 carries. This was his first game since Oct. 3.
“You can tell the difference in our offense when Fergie is in there,” interim coach Bill Cubit said of the back who had been sidelined with a shoulder injury. “It’s a little bit different of an offense when he is in there. Ke’Shawn played really well, too.”
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
The Illini racked up 382 yards, a 9.2 per carry average, on the ground against Purdue in their awesome 48 to 14 beat down of the Boilermakers in their last game. Illinois averages 144.3 yards rushing per game. If Illinois is patient on offense, if they run the ball, they could upset Ohio State.
It’s time to pull the trigger on a huge upset. Ohio State has been surviving by playing against mediocre teams. Illinois is slightly better than mediocre. My final score prediction is Illinois 31, Ohio State 26.