Wisconsin vs. Illinois odds, line: 2020 college football picks, predictions from model on 25-13 run

Teams looking to kick off their season with a victory meet in Big Ten action on Friday night when the Illinois Fighting Illini take on the 14th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers. This is the latest starting date to a season in Illinois history. The previous latest was Oct. 19, 1907. This will be Wisconsin’s latest start to a season since 1918, when it was delayed by the Spanish flu pandemic to Oct. 26. The Badgers will be without senior starting quarterback Jack Coan, who is expected to miss most of the season with a foot injury he sustained during preseason practice.

Kickoff from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., is set for 8 p.m. ET. Wisconsin leads the all-time series 42-37-7, including a 23-16-4 edge in games played in Madison. The Badgers are 19.5-point favorites in the latest Illinois vs. Wisconsin odds from William Hill, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 51.5. Before making any Wisconsin vs. Illinois 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 $4,100 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It is a sizzling 25-13 on top-rated picks through seven weeks of the 2020 college football season, returning over $700 in profit already. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Illinois vs. Wisconsin. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the college football odds from William Hill and trends for Wisconsin vs. Illinois:

  • Illinois vs. Wisconsin spread: Wisconsin -19.5
  • Illinois vs. Wisconsin over-under: 51.5 points
  • Illinois vs. Wisconsin money line: Illinois +750, Wisconsin -1200
  • ILL: Has more seniors on the 2020 roster (25) than in 2018 and 2019 combined (21)
  • WIS: Was 23rd in the nation, averaging 34.1 points per game in 2019

Why Wisconsin can cover

With Coan, a 14-game starter a year ago, out indefinitely, the Badgers will turn to redshirt freshman Graham Mertz. Mertz will become the first Wisconsin freshman to start a season opener at quarterback since John Josten opened vs. Richmond in 1978. As a true freshman, Mertz made two appearances in the late stages of nonconference games. He was 4-for-5 for 35 yards against Central Michigan, and 5-for-5 for 38 yards vs. Kent State.

With running back Jonathan Taylor leaving for the NFL after a decorated three-year career at Wisconsin, the Badgers enter the season without a running back on the depth chart who owns a 100-yard game in his career. That hasn’t happened since 2006. A number of backs will look to step up, however, including senior Garrett Groshek, a versatile third-down back a year ago who is the team’s second-leading returning rusher and receiver. The former walk-on carried 42 times for 194 rushing yards and averaged 10 yards per catch on 29 receptions.

Why Illinois can cover

Despite that, the Badgers are not a lock to cover the Illinois vs. Wisconsin spread on Friday. That’s because the Fighting Illini have experience, especially at quarterback. Returning is senior Brandon Peters, who completed 152 of 275 passes (55.3 percent) for 1,884 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019. He was intercepted eight times and had a 128.6 rating. He is on the 2020 Maxwell Award Watch List.

Also back is Peters’ top target, senior wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, who caught 33 passes for 634 yards and nine touchdowns. His 19.2 yards per reception average was third-best in the Big Ten and 20th in the nation. He played and started the first 11 games of the season before missing the last three due to injury. 

How to make Illinois vs. Wisconsin picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total, with the model suggesting both teams combine to score 55 points. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine. 

So who wins Wisconsin vs. Illinois? And which side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Illinois vs. Wisconsin spread to back, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,100 on its top-rated college football spread picks, and find out.

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