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Week 3: Arizona State vs. Illinois Preview & Free Pick

No. 18 Arizona State (2-0) at Illinois (2-0) Gambling Preview + Predictions

It may not be the headliner this weekend, but this PAC 12 vs. Big Ten matchup at Illinois has all the makings of one of the best games of the week.

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

Arizona State is coming off a big overtime win over Missouri last Friday night. Illinois has coasted to two victories over inferior opponents. Dennis Erickson’s team appears to be poised for a huge bounce back season, while Illinois is looking to get back to a second straight bowl game.

Arizona State vs. Illinois
Memorial Stadium
Saturday September 17, 7:00 PM EST
NCAA Football Odds from BetOnline
Moneyline: Illinois (-125) Arizona State (+105)
College Football Spread: Illinois -1.5 (-110) Arizona State +1.5 (-110)
Over/Under: 59.5
ASU vs. ILL ATS Gambling Stats –>

The Sun Devils have been down the last couple years, but Erickson and the coaching staff really have high hopes for this season. Brock Osweiler took over the starting job late last year, and he has been terrific in his role as the signal caller of this offense. In 177 passing attempts last year and this year, Osweiler has thrown just one interception! Someone who takes great care of the football is exactly what Erickson needs as his quarterback. Cameron Marshall is a talented running back who is fully capable of keeping the defense honest. Aaron Pflugrad has emerged as a star receiver this year. He already has four touchdowns and 11 receptions in just two contests.

Arizona State’s defense is a little bit bigger question mark. Over the last few years this unit hasn’t been very good, but they are slowly improving. Can this defense improve enough to help this team be one of the best in the PAC 12? The secondary is an area of concern, and Missouri threw for more than 300 yards last week. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Ron Zook’s job seems to be on the line every single year, and that is probably the case again this year. Illinois had a nice finish to last year with a big bowl victory over Baylor, but the pressure is still on Zook and the Fighting Illini to keep moving forward. The Fighting Illini will benefit from an extremely favorable schedule inside the Big Ten this year, so don’t be surprised if they make a little more noise than most people expect.

The Illinois offense is led by sophomore quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. Scheelhaase is a dual-threat quarterback who likes to run first, but he has the ability to throw it when needed. The loss of Mikel LeShoure is a big blow for the running game, but Jason Ford is a talented runner who should fare well in the backfield. A.J. Jenkins is the team’s star at the wide receiver position. Jenkins already has 16 catches in just two games.

Illinois will need to find another receiver to step up and produce on a consistent basis. The defense lost its two best players when Martez Wilson and Cory Liuget went pro. Trulon Henry is a star in the secondary, and he already has two interceptions this season.

This should be a tight game all the way. Both teams are improved, but both still have some notable weaknesses. The total is set awfully high here, and I think the best value is the under.

NCAA Gambling Trends:

Under is 9-3 in ARZST last 12 non-conference games.
Under is 6-2 in ARZST last 8 vs. Big Ten.
ARZST are 7-3-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
Over is 7-3 in ILL last 10 vs. Pac-12.

Free College Football Pick: Arizona State/Illinois under 59.5
Score Prediction: Illinois 27 Arizona State 24

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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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