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Last Updated Jul 19, 2022, 8:35 PM

2022 Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions

2022 ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI BETTING ODDS, PREDICTIONS, PREVIEW

The Fighting Illini showed some signs of improvement in the first year under head coach Bret Bielema, winning five games after a 2-6 season in the final season under Lovie Smith during the strange COVID campaign.

The Illini showed some signs of promise, picking up a solid win over Nebraska, as well as nice road wins at Minnesota and Penn State. The latter, as you might remember, was that epic 9-overtime game under the new 2-point conversion rule, which some loved and some hated with a passion. Don't get me started, as I am in the latter camp. Bielema's Illini also thrashed rival Northwestern by a 47-14 count, and finished a respectable 3-2 SU/4-1 ATS in the final five games, which has built some anticipation heading into 2022, something we haven't seen with Illinois football in some time.

The Illini will break in a new offensive coordinator, as Barry Lunney Jr. takes over for the departed Tony Petersen, who was canned after just one season. Lunney was in charge of the Texas-San Antonio offense, led by RB Sincere McCormick and QB Frank Harris, a team which the Illini fell to in Champaign last Sept. 4, ironically enough. That loss to a CUSA was one of the reasons the Illini did not go bowling, and Bielema was apparently impressed with what he saw.

QB Tommy DeVito hit the transfer portal, leaving Syracuse behind, and he will battle with QB Artur Sitkowski, who saw some meaningful snaps last season when QB Brandon Peters went down to injury. Sitkowski likely has the leg up in the competition with one year in Champaign under his belt, although it might be a clean slate with Lunney changing the offense somewhat. The latter also missed spring practice due to injury, which meant DeVito had a chance at first-team reps, allowing him time to build rapport with the offense.

RBs Chase Brown, Reggie Love III and Josh McCray give Illinois a surprising deep tailback stable, a playbook Bielema learned well from his days coaching Wisconsin, which rely heavily upon the run game.

DeVito had a chance to work with WRs Casey Washington and Isaiah Williams, as well as WR Brian Hightower, who redshirted last season. TE Luke Ford is also expected to have a larger piece of the offensive pie, too.

The defense was just so-so, and needs to get better in the Big Ten. Leading tackler LB Tarique Barnes is back, and S Sidney Brown is rock-sold in the defensive backfield. This team allowed 366.3 yards per game last season, and that simply won't do. It has to be better.

The non-conference schedule isn't terribly daunting, but this is Illinois we're talking about. No games are ever a gimme. But the more difficult games are at home, including a date with Virginia. A trip to Bielema's old stomping grounds in Madison will be tough, and road trips to Michigan and Northwestern will be tough if Illinois is sitting on five wins looking for a win to attain bowl eligibility. At least Illinois misses Ohio State and Penn State.

Best Bet: Illinois Over 4.5 Wins (-110)

2022 ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI SCHEDULE

  • Sat., Aug. 27 - vs. Wyoming
  • Fri., Sept. 2 - at Indiana
  • Sat., Sept. 10 - vs. Virginia
  • Thu., Sept. 22 - vs. Chattanooga
  • Sat., Oct. 1 - at Wisconsin
  • Sat., Oct. 8 - vs. Iowa
  • Sat., Oct. 15 - vs. Minnesota
  • Sat., Oct. 29 - at Nebraska
  • Sat., Nov. 5 - vs. Michigan State
  • Sat., Nov. 12 - vs. Purdue
  • Sat., Nov. 19 - at Michigan
  • Sat., Nov. 26 - at Northwestern

WIN TOTAL ODDS

  • Over 4.5 (-110)
  • Under 4.5 (-120)

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI ODDS TO WIN BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP

+15000

The Illini will be lucky to get to six wins and bowl eligibility. They're not a championship caliber team, nor are they even close to being one right now. A trip to a bowl game would be their championship in 2022.

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI ODDS TO WIN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

+40000

Illinois claims national titles in 1914, 1919, 1923, 1927 and 1951. In fact, that 1951 game against Stanford was a 40-7 romp in what was the first nationally televised college football game in history. On that team, Al Brosky had eight interceptions, giving him 30 for his career, and that is a college football record which still stands to this day.

This is a proud football program with a rich history. Red Grange was on the 1923 team, Dick Butkus played his ball in Champaign, more recently Tony Eason, Jeff George and Sidney Rice were stars. Even my teammate from Ice Aged Hockey in Raleigh, N.C., Adam Bennett, was on the scout team as a quarterback for the Illini back in the day. So there are big names in the past - ha. But we haven't seen a national title shot in some time, and that is years away from occurring at this point, don't waste a cent on Illinois on this never-happen prop. The Illini are on the right path, but it will be slow, slow growth.

QB Artur Sitkowski and RB Chase Brown are back in 2022. (Getty Images)

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI 2022 HEISMAN CONTENDERS & ODDS

The Illinois Fighting Illini do not have any Heisman contenders to begin the 2022 season.

2021 ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI BETTING RESULTS

  • SU: 5-7
  • ATS: 7-4-1
  • O/U: 3-9
  • ATS-Home: 3-3-1
  • ATS-Road: 4-1
  • ATS-Favorite: 1-1-1
  • ATS-Underdog: 6-3

MORE CONFERENCE ODDS

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