Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan Wolverines Picks, Predictions, Odds

The Michigan Wolverines were expected to take a step back this season without Aidan Hutchinson and others, but they are tied with the Ohio State Buckeyes atop the Big Ten East prior to their showdown at the end of the regular season. They will face an even more surprising team this week, as the Wolverines take on the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday, November 19, 2022, at 12 p.m. ET from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Prediction

Bret Bielema has done an excellent job with the Illinois Fighting Illini upon his return to the Big Ten. Illinois has seven wins for the first time since Ron Zook was in charge back in 2011, and the Fighting Illini are in a four-way tie for first in the Big Ten West coming into this game. However, they have lost two straight games and look very vulnerable coming into this week's showdown with the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan has made a habit of blowing out lesser opponents with five straight wins of 21+ points.

Score Prediction: Michigan 34, Illinois 10
Best Bet: Michigan -18

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Odds

More Odds | Futures Odds | CFP Central

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Resources

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2022
Matchup: Big 10
Venue: Michigan Stadium
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Time-TV: ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET
Expert Picks

Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Analysis

Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito has been sharp under center for Illinois this season. DeVito has managed to stay healthy, and he has been an excellent steward, completing 70% of his passes for 2,083 yards (7.3 YPA) with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. This isn't a passing attack with a lot of big plays though, instead relying on play action to keep defenses honest. Top receiver Isaiah Williams has 64 receptions for 553 yards and five touchdowns.

The Fighting Illini have one of the nation's best running backs in Chase Brown. He currently leads the country with 1,442 rushing yards, and he is averaging 5.2 YPC with seven touchdowns. However, Brown was injured in the final minute of last week's game against Purdue, and his status is in question heading into Saturday. Bielema has stated that Brown is trending in the right direction, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. If Brown is unable to play, Reggie Love III will likely see the majority of the carries.

Illinois' defense is currently ranked 4th in Defensive SP+. The Fighting Illini have been fantastic on this side of the ball in 2022, allowing just 13.9 PPG and 261.6 YPG. Opposing quarterbacks are completing less than 50% of their passes against this team, and Illinois leads the country in interception rate. Kendall Smith, Sydney Brown, and Jartavius Martin have combined for 11 of the team's 17 interceptions.

Michigan Wolverines Betting Analysis

The Wolverines have been better on offense than almost anyone expected. Michigan ranks 20th in Offensive SP+ as J.J. McCarthy has proven to be an upgrade over Cade McNamara at quarterback. McCarthy has figured things out in his second season in Ann Arbor, completing 69% of his passes for 1,744 yards (8.2 YPA) with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. Ronnie Bell is the go-to receiver, but it's the ground game that makes the Wolverines so efficient.

Blake Corum has run for 1,349 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 5.9 YPC. That has led to talk of a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist, but Corum needs to close out the season in a big way if that's to happen. Donovan Edwards is averaging 6.7 YPC as the backup, and he surpassed 100 yards in wins over Penn State and Nebraska.

Michigan is a lot like an S-Tier version of Illinois in many ways. The Wolverines run the ball extremely well and have a better quarterback for play action, and they even have a better defense, ranking 3rd in Defensive SP+. Even without Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, they lead the country in most defensive categories, allowing a scant 11.2 PPG, 232.8 YPG, and 3.8 yards per play. This is the best run defense in the land (2.6 YPC), so Illinois is unlikely to have much success on the ground.