Wisconsin vs Illinois prediction, game preview, how to watch: Saturday, October 9
Wisconsin vs Illinois How To Watch
Date: Saturday, October 9
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
How To Watch: BTN
Record: Wisconsin (1-3), Illinois (2-4)
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Wisconsin vs Illinois Game Preview
Why Wisconsin Will Win
The defense is still outstanding.
There’s no excuse for the Badgers to be 1-3 no matter what, but Penn State, Notre Dame, and Michigan are all very, very good. They’re also ranked high partly because they beat Wisconsin.
The Badgers are still third in the nation in total defense even after the problems in the loss to Michigan. They’re still No. 1 against the run, they’re still devastating on third downs, and they’re just a little bit of offensive production away from being even better.
Illinois can’t convert on third downs. It’s done the impossible and is worse than Wisconsin in the red zone, it can’t keep offenses from keeping the chains moving, and the passing attack is woefully inefficient.
Wisconsin can’t EVER survive giveaways. It was more than that with Michigan, but the mistakes were the difference against Penn State and opened the floodgates against Notre Dame.
Going back to the 2020 Rose Bowl loss to Oregon, Wisconsin is 5-0 when it doesn’t turn the ball over and 0-7 when it does. So just don’t turn the ball over.
Why Illinois Will Win
Illinois has forced two takeaways in each of its last four games.
For all of the problems in the start of the Bret Bielema era – it has yet to lose the turnover battle – the run defense hasn’t been all that bad, and the ground game is coming off a 336-yard performance.
And now his Illini get a hot mess of a Wisconsin team in Champaign.
Along with beating dead last in the nation in turnover margin, the Badgers are the second-worst in the country on third downs, the return game has been awful, and the team can’t run.
QB Graham Mertz isn’t getting a whole lot of help and now the pressure to not screw up is a ten-ton weight. He’s expected to go after suffering a rib injury against Michigan, but Chase Wolf – who only hit 3-of-8 passes last week – might get the call.
What’s Going To Happen
It’s the Bret Bowl, but does that mean Illinois will try super-extra hard because its coach used to be the head man at Wisconsin?
Yeah. That, and beating the Badgers is still a big deal in the Big Ten West.
It’s not going to happen. The Wisconsin offense will start to get its groove back on the ground against an Illinois front that hasn’t been powered on. There will be one Badger turnover, but not two.
The defense will take care of the rest.
Wisconsin vs Illinois Prediction, Line
Wisconsin 30, Illinois 16
Line: Wisconsin -10, o/u: 42.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
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Must See Rating: 2.5
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