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Wisconsin vs Illinois Predictions for NCAA Football: Badgers To Rally Around Backup QB?

As the college football season rolls on, the injury bug begins to bite across the country. One spot where you hope to avoid that happening is at the quarterback position, and Wisconsin wasn’t lucky enough to avoid it. In turn, their matchup against Illinois becomes one of the most interesting football picks this week, as Badgers’ backup quarterback Braedyn Locke will get the nod after stepping in for starter Tanner Mordecai, who broke his hand last week.

Locke completed 15-of-30 passes for 122 yards in Wisconsin’s loss to Iowa, which dropped them to 4-2, and they’ll now have a date with an Illini defensive front more than capable of getting pressure. Illinois sits at 3-4 but is coming off an impressive upset of Maryland on the road.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois Predictions for NCAA Football: Badgers To Rally Around Backup QB?
Wisconsin vs. Illinois Predictions for NCAA Football: Badgers To Rally Around Backup QB?

Wisconsin Facing Major Test with Backup QB

The loss of Mordecai for the Badgers is a brutal blow, as they had won three straight heading into the last game. While Locke is going to face a serious test, there is some good news. Running back Braelon Allen has been stellar, rushing for 559 yards on 91 attempts (6.1 yards per attempt) with seven touchdowns.

Pair that with the fact that Illinois has allowed 164.1 rushing yards per game, and if Wisconsin is able to get the ground game going quickly and relieve some pressure on Locke, it could shift the entire outlook for Wisconsin’s offense.

Considering Illinois comes in averaging 20.3 points per game, it’s not hard to envision a world where Wisconsin can get the job done, and the current line that has the Badgers as 2½-point favorites, it seems oddsmakers agree with that. It may not be pretty but I do think Wisconsin rallies around its defense and running game to pull out a seven-point road win.

Predicted Score: Wisconsin Badgers 20, Illinois Fighting Illini 13

Wisconsin’s Rushing Attack Fuels Big Road Victory

We can’t go as far as calling this an “upset” technically, but the Badgers getting the win with their new quarterback in his first start would be a big deal. I’m buying stock in the game planning here to feature the running game and let Locke have great spots to capitalize on less pressure than he’d typically face.

The Illinois offense doesn’t have a spot where it’s dominant enough to push me off Wisconsin, so I’m going to ride with the team rallying behind losing their quarterback to get the win.

College Football Pick: Wisconsin -2½ (-115)


Don’t Expect to See a Ton of Points in Wisconsin vs Illinois

As you can tell from the prediction, this should be a low-scoring game. Obviously, things can flip in random spots, but I’m not buying into the outcome where Illinois is able to spark things offensively and light up the Wisconsin defense, nor that outcome will happen the other way around either.

The current total is set at 41 is too high in my opinion. I’d take the under 41, but if you feel safer with a higher mark, teasing this game to get Wisconsin at +3½ and under 47 in a six-point teaser makes a ton of sense. If Wisconsin does lose to Illinoi, it’ll be in a close game and getting Wisconsin at more than +3 has plenty of appeal.

College Football Pick: Under 41 total points (-110) or 6-point tease on Wisconsin +3½ and under 47 total points (-117)


Wisconsin vs. Illinois Game Information

  • Game: Wisconsin Badgers (4-2) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (3-4)
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 21/3:30 pm ET
  • Location: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
  • Wisconsin vs Illinois Live Stream: ESPN


Questions of the Day

What is the best prop bet for the Wisconsin at Illinois?

Wisconsin RB Braelon Allen over 98 rushing yards. If the Badgers are going to get the road win without their starting quarterback, Allen, who’s been exceptional, will be the reason why.

Is first half total points scored a good prop bet in the Wisconsin vs Illinois game?

The first half under 20½ points looks like a good spot. With Wisconsin rolling out its backup quarterback and Illinois averaging 20.3 points per game, there shouldn’t be a ton of points in this matchup


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