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Toledo vs Illinois, Prediction Picks and Odds: Rockets to Score Upset

The Toledo Rockets will kick off Week 1 of College Football with a non-conference matchup on the road against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Toledo opens this outing as 9½-point underdogs with the over/under at 45½.

Toledo vs Illinois Odds

We look at the best college football pick to take between Toledo and Illinois:

Toledo vs Illinois Game Information

  • Game: Toledo vs Illinois
  • When: Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Where: Memorial Stadium– Champaign, Illinois
  • Toledo vs Illinois live stream: ESPN

Toledo Primed for Betting Success

Toledo enters the 2023 season following a 9-5 campaign that won them a Mid-American Conference championship last year. The good news is many key pieces will be returning to this Toledo team.

For starters, the team will once again be led by All-MAC quarterback Dequan Finn. Finn threw for 2,260 yards with 23 touchdowns to 12 interceptions last season. His dual-threat capabilities also had him log 631 rushing yards and nine more touchdowns.

Finn isn’t the only star of the show making his return for the Rockets. Shutdown cornerback Quinyon Mitchell is also back after the 2022 season where he managed 13 total pass breakups. It’s worth noting his best game of last year against Northern Illinois where he popped off for four interceptions.

Tough Opener for New-Look Illinois

As for Illinois, the Illini are fresh off of eight wins in 2022, which marked their first winning season in over a decade. The Fighting Illini will have a new-look offense under a new quarterback with Ole Miss transfer Luke Altmyer at the helm.

Altmyer had been competing with John Paddock, a transfer from Ball State, and redshirt freshman Donovan Leary before ultimately winning the job.

During his time at Ole Miss, Altmyer played mostly in a reserve role and started just one game. He totaled 317 passing yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions with the Rebels. That means this will be his first time as a true starter.

Questions also loom in the Illinois backfield with NCAA rushing yard leader Chase Brown out of the picture. That’s not a good sign for an offensive system that loves to run the ball.

On the flip side, Illinois’ defense, which allowed fewer than two touchdowns per game last season and ranked No. 1 in the country, lost some key players, including their defensive backs who were drafted by the NFL in April.

Toledo vs Illinois Betting Pick

Sure, defense wins games, but this won’t be the same Illinois defense we saw in 2022. Furthermore, I am more confident in a Toledo team that has a stable and experienced quarterback and must have spent the offseason fixing its defensive woes.

Take the Rockets to win straight up at Champaign Stadium.

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