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Ohio State Illinois Betting: Ohio State And Illinois Both Have Something To Prove

Posted by Blake Frazier on 10/12/2011 7:56:03 PM

The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Illinois Fighting Illini are coming from different sides of the tracks, but they’re both trying to gain respect as they hit the midpoint of their seasons.

Ohio State Buckeyes @ Illinois Fighting Illini - Saturday, October 15

Sports betting line: Illinois -4

Why Ohio State Will Win

College football betting  experts must come to terms with certain facts and weigh them accordingly when Ohio State and Illinois do battle this Saturday. The Buckeyes might have allowed the Nebraska Cornhuskers to pull off the greatest comeback in that program's rich and illustrious history this past weekend, but despite the heartache in Columbus, one very heartening fact emerged: Ohio State's offense actually looked respectable. The week before against Michigan State, the Buckeyes came within 10 seconds of being shut out at home for the first time since they were blanked by Wisconsin in 1982. The following week, OSU scored 27 points in two and a half quarters on the road. The Buckeyes gained confidence, but they also ran better plays. Flanker screens and horizontally-oriented change-of-pace passing plays kept Nebraska’s defense off balance. Ohio State had a more coherent plan, and that’s part of why freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was so steady under center. It’s true that after Miller got injured in the third quarter, the Buckeyes collapsed, but this team now knows that if it has Miller on the field, it can be very competitive and win its fair share of games. This team hasn’t turned the corner, but it now has reason to believe that it can field a competent offense, an offense that won’t be limited to six or seven points per game. The days of losing 24-6 to Miami and 10-7 to Michigan State should be over. When one also realizes that Illinois hasn’t played a better team than Northwestern this season, Ohio State could certainly make a statement on the road at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.

Why Illinois Will Win

When you contemplate your sports bet in this game, it’s hard to capture the extent to which Ohio State has declined this season. The off-field incidents swirling around the Buckeye program, culminating in the retirement (technically) of coach Jim Tressel, left OSU short-handed on the field and on the sideline. Suspended players, a humiliated ex-coach, and a thinner roster put enormous pressure on the Buckeyes’ active roster, and it did so in a context of considerable distractions. New Ohio State coach Luke Fickell appears to be in over his head, and as a result, the Buckeyes have shown very little confidence in the heat of crunch-time competition. The Bucks failed to keep up with Michigan State two weeks ago, and then they gacked away a 27-6 lead over Nebraska this past weekend. Illinois, playing at home, has the weapons and the confidence that should be good enough to best Ohio State. These are not your normal Buckeyes, and that’s the saving grace for the Illini.

Who Will Win

Illinois is not a team that has proven it can win statement games such as this one. The Illini usually flinch when presented with a big stage and an even greater opportunity. Ohio State might be depressed as it takes the field in this game, but the thought here is that the Buckeyes will play with passion. If they do, they should be able to win by shutting down Illinois’ offense.

College Football Betting Pick: Ohio State

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