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Texas Bowl: Fighting Illini vs. Bears Preview & Pick

Illinois Fighting Illini vs Baylor Bears Gambling Preview + Predictions

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

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Texas Bowl: Illinois vs. Baylor Preview/Pick

Date/Time: Wednesday December 29- 6:00 PM
Venue: Reliant Stadium
Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6) vs. Baylor Bears (7-5) Betting Lines from Diamond
MoneyLine: Baylor (-120) Illinois (+100)
NCAA Betting Favorite: Baylor -1.5 (-110) Illinois +1.5 (-110)
Over/Under: 62
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Illinois

Ron Zook and the Fighting Illini are back in the postseason this year. This is a team that has surpassed expectations, but they need a win here to finish with a winning record this year.

Nathan Scheelhaase is the freshman starting quarterback for this Illinois offense. He has had a couple of difficult games, but he has performed very well in his first season at Illinois. The passing attack hasn’t been dynamic this year, but he has done a nice job minimizing mistakes. Mikel LeShoure had a huge year for the Fighting Illini at the tailback position. LeShoure averaged 6.0 yards per carry and finished the regular season with 1,522 yards on the ground. The Illinois rushing attack averaged 244 yards per game this year, which was good for 13th best in the nation. Illinois scored 32 points per game during the regular season.

The Illinois defense was quite a bit better than most expected. A healthy Martez Wilson made a big difference for this team, as did a strong defensive line led by Cory Liuget. Illinois allowed only 24 points per game this year. It is important to note that the defense seemed to wear down a bit at the end of the year. Illinois allowed 38.25 points per game in their final four games. They’ll need to bring their best effort against a strong Baylor offense.

Baylor

The Baylor Bears had a pretty successful season, but they did lose their last three games of the regular season. This team is ready to get back on the field and finish the year with a big victory. They’ll need a complete team effort to win this game.

Robert Griffin III is the star of this Baylor offense. Griffin is the signal caller, and he does it all for this unit. He is one of the better dual threat quarterbacks in all of college football. Griffin completed 69% of his passes during the year, and he also ran for 505 yards. The best part about this offense is they are extremely balanced. This unit averages 278 yards per game through the air, and 202 yards per game on the ground. Kendall Wright had a breakout year at the wide receiver spot, and he’ll be one to keep your eye on during this game. Jay Finley is the leading rusher for this team. Finley finished with 11 rushing touchdowns in the regular season.

The Baylor defense had a difficult time this season. This is a unit that allowed 420 total yards per game this year. They were especially bad against the pass, where they ranked 114th in the nation. How bad did they finish out the year? Baylor allowed 50 points per game in their last three games of the regular season. Illinois doesn’t have a great passing attack, but the Bears will need to stop the run to win this game.

The Pick:

Both defenses struggled mightily down the stretch, and I think both teams will be able to score in this one. Griffin should have a big game, but LeShoure could very well have a big day for Illinois as well. I think the best play on the board is the over in this game.

Illinois vs. Baylor Score Prediction: Baylor 35 Illinois 34

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Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Check out his plays today.

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About Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Totals are Kyle's specialty, so look for a lot of totals picks from NBA, NCAAF, & the NFL. Check out his plays today.


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