The Purdue Boilermakers open their Big Ten season by playing host to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday afternoon. Illinois has already played a pair of conference contests, splitting against Nebraska and Maryland. The Boilermakers are coming off their first loss last weekend against Notre Dame. Let’s take a closer look at this contest and help you determine how to bet online on it.
Game: Illinois Fighting Illini (1-3) at Purdue Boilermakers (2-1)
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Television: Big Ten Network
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Purdue has won four of the last five meetings tie the all-time series 45-45-6. The Boilermakers won in Champaign in 2020, making it three straight seasons that the visiting team has come away with a victory.
The Illini have actually won three of the last four times they’ve played at Purdue. Last year’s one-score game (a 31-24 Purdue victory) was the first time in four years that the game wasn’t decided by at least 18 points.
Illinois Fighting Illini
Next game: vs. Charlotte
Playing at home against Maryland on Friday night, the Illini fell on a last-second field goal by the Terrapins 20-17. Illinois was outgained 481-335, including a 350-185 deficit in passing yards.
But the Illini hung in the game thanks to their running game, which had true freshman Josh McCray rushing for 60 yards and a score and sophomore Chase Brown accounting for 57 yards. Brown and McCray also added to the passing game, registering 54 and 40 receiving yards, respectively.
Illinois was an underdog at home against a Big Ten opponent for the second time, covering the spread vs Maryland after winning outright against Nebraska in the season opener.
Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters returned to the starting role after missing a couple weeks with a shoulder injury. While Peters didn’t look limited by the injury, the Illini relied more on their running game against Maryland. That may change a little bit this week as Peters feels more comfortable after coming back.
Next game: vs Minnesota
Big plays doomed Purdue in its effort to upset Notre Dame on the road, as the Boilermakers lost for the first time 27-13. The Irish had 343 yards of total offense in the contest, but 243 of those yards came on just eight plays.
The defense was the story for Purdue, as it recorded a season-high seven tackles for loss, including four sacks. Safety Cam Allen had a career-high nine tackles.
Offensively, the Boilermakers had their struggles, with quarterback Jack Plummer throwing for 187 yards and a touchdown. He gave way to Aidan O’Connell in the fourth quarter, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 104 yards.
Purdue was unable to cover the spread set by the college football odds for the first time, falling by 14 after coming in as a 7½-point underdog. It was also the third time that the Boilermakers’ game finished under the total.
Wide receiver David Bell took a scary hit in Saturday’s game, as his head bounced off the turf and he had to be carted off the field. Bell was walking around on Saturday night, but his status for this weekend’s game is uncertain.
Betting on the Game
The Boilermakers opened as a double-digit favorite at home and that hasn’t changed. As stated earlier, meetings between these two teams haven’t been close in recent seasons, and the Illini didn’t show a lot of offense at home in losing to Maryland.
Purdue will certainly be motivated to bounce back after a tough loss to Notre Dame and that could lead to a lopsided score. Illinois’ only road game was a 42-14 loss to Virginia, and the Illini have yet to hold an opponent under 20 points.
The Boilermakers have covered both games in which they were the favorite this season, including a 35-point spread against Connecticut on the road. Purdue should be able to take care of this spread as well, earning an easy win at home to open its conference campaign.
The 55½-point total is a little more interesting to bet on, as it assumes the Illini are going to put points on the board. Illinois got to 17 against Maryland thanks to a recovered fumble being taken 30 yards for a score by wide receiver Casey Washington.
Purdue might be able to do some scoring against the Illini, but the Boilermakers are also tough defensively, which could make it hard for the total to hit unless Illinois can make some big plays. We’re not betting on that happening too often, so we like the under when you’re making your college football picks in this one.