Free Week 5 Prediction: Fighting Illini vs Cornhuskers Odds
Looking for Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers free picks? Week 5 College football betting sees the Fighting Illini taking on the Cornhuskers Saturday October 1st at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
(1-2) Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0)
Date: Saturday, October 1st
Time: 3:30 pm EST
Venue: Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska
NCAA Football Spread: Nebraska -21
NCAA Betting Total: 54.0
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The much needed bye week for Illinois will test how they respond to their 1-2 start before even reaching Big 10 play.
Coach Lovie Smith’s teams have faced plenty of adversity over his long coaching career so you can assume he focused on boosting his team’s confidence during Illinois’s week off.
The Cornhuskers survived the letdown game last week on the road against Northwestern after knocking off Oregon at home the week before.
This will be a dangerous game as well for the Cornhuskers as they have a real chance to be 7-0 before travelling to Wisconsin but can’t afford to look ahead to that matchup.
Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois also likely focused on converting on third down during their bye week after going 1-11 on third down in their Week 3 loss to Western Michigan.
Including the Illini’s second game against North Carolina, Illinois is converting just 27 percent of its third down opportunities.
That won’t get any easier this week as Nebraska is allowing third down conversions at a rate of just 32 percent this season.
Wes Lunt has been sharp for the most part for the Illini though – completing 62 percent of his passes with a 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
Lunt has been fine on third down too – sporting a 130.9 quarterback rating on those attempts.
The rushing attack is a major issue for the Illini and it is difficult to compete in the Big 10 without a rushing attack to open up the passing attack.
Lunt has been impressive but it is yet to be determined if he is good enough to lead the way without help in the run game.
If you take out two big runs of 65 and 56 yards, the run game is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Illini gave up 4 total touchdowns to dual threat quarterback Mitch Trubisky in Week 2.
Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong is even better and more experienced so that doesn’t bode well for them approaching this matchup.
A gutsy home win over Oregon followed by a gutsy road win over Northwestern has this Nebraska team looking sharp at 4-0 and appearing as an unexpected threat in the Big 10.
They gained 556 total yards last week against a tough Northwestern defense and pulled out an important conference road win despite turning the ball over twice.
Senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong has been the driving force behind their success thus far – accounting for 12 touchdowns and 1212 yards in four games.
Nebraska is a run focused offense but Armstrong’s playmaking ability throwing the ball makes them difficult to stop.
Their defense has been great on third down and held the Oregon passing attack to just 146 yards through the air.
Nebraska controlled the clock in their win against Oregon and forced the Ducks into 126 penalty yards.
The matchup a few weeks away with Wisconsin is starting to heat up as both teams should be inside the top 10 when that game arrives.
Nebraska needs to stay focused though – as conference games are always challenging and Illinois knocked them off last season 14-13.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
- Under is 4-0 in Illinois’s last 4 games following a bye.
- Under is 10-4 in Illinois’s last 14 games overall.
- Under is 10-4 in Illinois’s last 14 games on turf
Free Week 5 NCAA Football Prediction
Armstrong is too experienced and focused to let Nebraska lose this game but I think 21 points is a lot to give up to a Lovie Smith coached team coming off of a bye.
I would expect Lunt to be able to move the ball against the Huskers and the Illini defense to get enough stops to keep this one respectable.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Illinois +21.0
This could prove to be a long, challenging season for the Fighting Illini but conference games can get weird sometimes. This may not be a game that they can steal – going on the road against a hot Nebraska team – but it could instill some confidence if they keep it close.
Week 5 Free Score Prediction: Nebraska 26 – Illinois 20
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