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Last Updated Aug 29, 2022, 10:41 AM

Wyoming Cowboys vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Predictions, Picks, Odds

The Wyoming Cowboys and Illinois Fighting Illini open their seasons at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on BTN.


Wyoming registered a 6-6 regular season and a win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Kent State to finish up on a high note. All of the good feelings from last season might be washed away, however, as the team ended up losing a good chunk of talent. QB Sean Chambers ended up pulling up stakes and heading to FCS powerhouse Montana State, while QB Levi Williams headed to Utah State via the transfer portal. That leaves QB Andrew Peasley, who comes in from USU, as the starting signal caller.

To make matters worse for Wyoming, they ended up losing WR Isaiah Neyer to Texas, so it could be tough sledding for the offense in this road trip to open the season. In addition, productive RB Xazavian Valladay departed for Arizona State, so the transfer portal was really not a friend to head coach Craig Bohl and company.

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema helped the team to a 5-7 record last season. While it was the school's 10th consecutive losing season, there is reason for optimism in Champaign. A win over Wyoming would really get Illinois off on the right foot. Incoming transfer QB Tommy DeVito, formerly of Syracuse, looks to give the team an injection of excitement, with incumbent QB Artur Sitkowski a fallback option. WR Isaiah Williams, a former QB, is a productive weapon, and he could make his presence felt early against what could be a shaky Wyoming defense early on. TE Luke Ford could also shine under new offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr.

Look for Illinois to start strong, and the defense might look a little better than they actually are, as Wyoming isn't likely to jell very quickly.

Score Prediction: Illinois 27, Wyoming 13
Best Bet: Illinois -10 (-110)
Best Bet: Under 43.5 (-110)

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Date: Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022
Matchup: Mountain West vs. Big Ten
Venue: Memorial Stadium
Location: Champaign, Ill.
Time-TV: BTN, 4:00 p.m. ET


The Cowboys lost so much, and it is going to be tough sledding for head coach Craig Bohl's team to get off to a quick start. Eventually the skill position players might end up jelling, but it's likely going to be a slow first half, and a better second half to the season. The offense was essentially gutted by other programs due to the transfer portal.

Wyoming is just 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings against Big Ten opponents, with the last game coming Sept. 2, 2017 at Iowa, a 24-3 loss as 12-point underdogs. This will be the first-ever meeting between these schools.

The Cowboys defense was actually pretty stout last season, yielding just 348.3 total yards per game to rank 38th, although the rushing defense was subpar. There were also losses via the portal on D, including top CBs C.J. Coldon moving to Oklahoma, and Azizi Hearn hitting the road for UCLA. But they will try to fold in CBs Deron Harrell from Wisconsin and Jakorey Hawkins from Mississippi, so it could end up being OK. Unfortunately for the linebacking corps, the team also lost leading tackler LB Chad Muma. The Cowboys could have trouble stopping the run in this one.

Illinois has cashed the UNDER in 14 of the past 19 non-conference games. (Getty Images)


DeVito completed 61.5% of his pass attempts for Syracuse last season, but the New Jersey native lost his starting job to Garrett Shrader, so he'll look to rebound in Champaign with a clean slate. He has had a long injury sheet, and that's the biggest concern heading into this one-and-done season for Illinois. Sitkowski proved to be adequate last season, just in case DeVito is forced out.

The Illini haven't had a lot of luck outside of the Big Ten, going 0-5-1 ATS in the past six non-conference tilts. That includes an outright loss to Texas-San Antonio last season, which essentially cost the team a bowl bid. Illinois hasn't had a lot of luck in the month of August, either, going 2-5 ATS in the past seven occurrences.

For totals, it's all UNDER all the time for Illinois lately, especially against non-conference foes. The UNDER is 14-5 in the past 19 games against non-Big Ten opponents, and it looks like a strong play here given the fact Wyoming has lost so many key parts on offense. The UNDER went 4-1 in the final five home games for Illinois last season, too.


  • Wyoming is 3-1-1 ATS in the past five games on fieldturf.
  • Wyoming is 1-4 ATS in the past five games vs. Big Ten.
  • Illinois is 0-5-1 ATS in the past six non-conference games.
  • Illinois is 2-5 ATS in the past seven games in August.
  • OVER is 6-1 in Wyoming's past seven games on fieldturf.
  • UNDER is 4-1 in the past five home games for Illinois.
  • UNDER is 14-5 in the past 19 non-conference games for Illinois.
  • UNDER is 5-2 in the past seven games on fieldturf for Illinois.

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