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Illinois Fighting Illini 2015 NCAA Football Odds & Predictions

2015-2016 Football Previews (Big Ten)- Illini

The Illinois Fighting Illini were outscored by an average of 8.1 points per game, but they found a way to pick up six wins and go bowling. They were beaten 35-18 by Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

NCAA Football Gambling Lines

Big 10 Lines

Big Ten 2015-2016 College Football Preview – Illinois Fighting Illini
Head Coach: Tim Beckman
2014 Record: 6-7
Odds to win Big Ten (from BetOnline): +10,000
Season Win Total (from 5Dimes): 4.5

Tim Beckman has been on the hot seat here at Illinois. The team improved last year, and they’ll need to continue to improve.

Eight starters return on offense and seven return on defense.

The offense was a disappointment last year, but they did deal with a bunch of injuries. If they can stay healthier, I do expect the Fighting Illini to score more points this year. They draw Ohio State and Penn State from the Big Ten East, so the schedule definitely isn’t going to help them.

Team Strengths:

Wes Lent was dinged up a lot last year, but when healthy he is a really good quarterback. He started five games as a freshman at Oklahoma State. Lunt threw 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions last season. The team’s top four receivers from last year return, so I see a lot of upside potential for the Fighting Illini passing attack.

Mike Dudek is really underrated at the wide receiver spot. Look for a big season from Lunt. Illinois will pile up the passing yards this year.

The Illini return some really good linebackers. Maspm Monheim led the team with 111 tackles last year. TJ Neal is a budding star at the middle linebacker spot. Also important to note is the fact that Mike Svetina missed last year with an injury, but he’ll be back in the rotation this year. This is easily the deepest unit on the defense.

MyBookie

These linebackers should make a lot of plays this year.

Team Weaknesses:

The problem with the offense will likely be the offensive line. With Lunt and the skill position players, Illinois has the ability to put up big numbers on offense, but that is reliant on the offensive line holding their own. This is a group that has been really bad the last few seasons. They allowed 37 sacks a year ago.

The defensive line just isn’t good enough to stop the opposition from running it down their throat. Illinois gave up 5.0 yards per carry last year. You simply can’t be a good team in the Big Ten when you are giving up five yards per rushing attempt. There might be a little bit more depth here this season, but they are still lacking high end talent.

Illinois often digs themselves some pretty big holes because of bad special teams play. That will likely be the case again this season. Their lone bright spot from this unit last year was their punter, and he graduated after last season.

Illinois Fighting Illini 2015-2016 Prediction: 5-7

Illinois is probably a better team than they were last year, but because of the much tougher schedule inside the Big Ten, they are unlikely to return to a bowl game this year. Their non-conference game at North Carolina on September 19 will be a nice early test for the Fighting Illini.

The offense should be better, but the defense will continue to give up a lot of points.

Illinois Fighting Illini 2015 Football Schedule

Regular Season
Date Time vs
9/4/15 9:00 PM ET KENT
9/12/15 TBD WIU
9/19/15 12:00 PM ET @UNC
9/26/15 TBD MTU
10/3/15 TBD NEB
10/10/15 12:00 PM ET @IOWA
10/24/15 3:30 PM ET WIS
10/31/15 TBD @PSU
11/7/15 TBD @PUR
11/14/15 TBD OSU
11/21/15 TBD @MINN
11/28/15 TBD NW

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