Wyoming vs Illinois College Football Betting Favorites, Analysis & Prediction

Wyoming vs Illinois | College Football Betting Favorites, Analysis & Prediction

Written by on August 24, 2022

It’s the Mountain West vs. the Big Ten in college football action on Saturday when Wyoming, a bowl team last season, takes on Illinois, which is a double-digit favorite on the NCAAF odds.

How to Bet Wyoming at Illinois NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Saturday, 4 PM ET
  • Where: Memorial Stadium
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • Stream: BTN+
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Illinois -10.5 (total 43.5)

Why Bet on Wyoming?

The Wyoming lost their 2021 starting quarterback in Levi Williams as he transferred to Utah State. He spent three seasons at Wyoming (2019-21) as he played in 18 games with 12 starts. Williams was 150-of-278 (.540) passing for 2,210 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while rushing for 763 yards on 168 carries (4.5 ypr) and 13 touchdowns.

As a redshirt freshman in 2021, he was 72-of-120 (.600) passing for 990 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions, while rushing for 482 yards on 72 carries (6.7 ypr) and five touchdowns. Williams became the first quarterback in college history to rush for 200 yards, score four rushing touchdowns and pass for one touchdown in a bowl game, as he was named the Offensive MVP in UW’s 52-38 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win against Kent State. Fellow QB Sean Chambers actually led the team in passing, and now he’s at Montana State.

Former Utah State QB Andrew Peasley should start this game. He played in 10 games and finished the season with 576 yards of total offense in 2021. He was 28-of-51 (.549) passing for 415 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Leading 2021 rusher Xazavian Valladay transferred to Arizona State. He had 209 carries for 1,070 yards and six TDs in 2021. But second-leading rusher Titus Swen returns. He rushed for a career high 785 yards and seven touchdowns. He recorded two 100-yard rushing games in ’21 — 166 yards in a home win over Colorado State and 169 yards in a road win over eventual Mountain West Champion Utah State.

The O Line should be good again but is missing a few parts from the group that was among the best in the Mountain West in pass protection and in keeping defenses out of the backfield.

On defense, losing leading tackler Chad Muma and his 142 tackles from the linebacking corps is a problem. The secondary lost corners CJ Coldon (Oklahoma) and Azizi Hearn (UCLA). On the flip side, Deron Harrell is coming in from Wisconsin and Jakorey Hawkins is in from Ole Miss to help at corner. Wyoming’s defense ranked in the top 45 in defensive SP+ for the fifth consecutive season in 2021.

Wyoming’s defensive front is small but nasty, and the 274-pound Cole Godbout is the face of the line. He combined 14 run stuffs with five sacks last season and will create a feisty duo with 275-pounder Jordan Bertagnole. Ninth-year coach Craig Bohl has built a great defense and a competitive program, but the Cowboys have ranked higher than 87th in offensive SP+ only once under his watch.

Why Bet on Illinois?

Illinois coach Bret Bielema isn’t saying who his starting QB will be for Week 1. It has been a two-horse race under center between junior Artur Sitkowski and senior Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito. Sitkowski was 74-of-148 passing for 704 yards and six touchdowns last season. DeVito appeared in just three games for the Orange in 2021, throwing one touchdown pass and a pair of interceptions. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder completed 61.5% of his throws in limited action.

“I’ve been around Art for obviously a full season now,” Bielema said. “You know, I think the concerns that we had going in the first place when I told Art that we were going to go after a quarterback that was going to be a portal quarterback — I’m very upfront with our players — I think one of the things I greatly respect is the relationship that I have with our players and being honest, full throttle. I told him, you know, specifically about Tommy. Art’s reaction then is the same that it is right now today — I think he wants Illinois to be successful.”

In Year 1, Bielema became the first first-year head coach in Illinois history to win two top 25 games. The Illini had marquee wins at #7 (AP) Penn State, in the longest game in college football history, and at #20 (CFP) Minnesota. The Illini were one of four teams to win two AP/CFP ranked games on the road in 2021, along with Boise State, Fresno State, and Mississippi State. Illinois had as many AP/CFP ranked wins in 2021 (2) as the previous 12 years combined.

Chase Brown became the 14th 1,000-yard rusher in program history when he broke the 1,000-yard mark in the season finale against Northwestern. He finished the season with 1,005 rushing yards on 170 carries (5.9 per carry) and five touchdowns and is back.

Illinois announced a contract extension for defensive coordinator Ryan Walters on Nov. 14, 2021, after Walters has helped Illinois have one of the best defensive turnarounds in college football. Illinois’ defense has made a 13.0-point improvement from last season (34.9 ppg to 21.9 ppg). The 13.0 ppg improvement is the program’s third-best improvement since 1950. Illinois’ scoring defense (31st from 97th), total defense (32nd from 89th), and third-down defense (51st from 114th) have all improved 50 or more spots in the national rankings.

Illinois is 276-247-14 all-time at Memorial Stadium. It is 84-43-5 in season-openers and 61-28-4 when opening the season at home.

Game Trends

  • Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Cowboys are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big Ten.
  • Fighting Illini are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in August.
  • Fighting Illini are 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.

Expert Prediction

  • Illinois 27, Wyoming 17
   
 

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