South Florida Bulls (2-0) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)Date : 09/15/2018
Time : 3:30 pm EST
Location : Memorial Stadium, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
South Florida Bulls vs Illinois Fighting Illini
The South Florida Bulls will travel to Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois, to battle the Fighting Illini of Illinois on Saturday afternoon beginning at 3:30 pm EST. The Fighting Illini would get a 34-14 home victory in week 2 over the Leathernecks of Western Illinois as they would also cash in on the spread as 8-point favorites while there was no total set for the matchup. South Florida would outlast Georgia Tech at home last Saturday by a 49-38 score as they would cover as 3-point home dogs while the over of 61 points was surpassed. These two teams have some history in the past as the Bulls would get a 47-23 home win over Illinois on September 15, 2017 as they would cover as 16.5-point underdogs while the over was the play with the total being set at 55 points for the game.
South Florida Bulls's Latest Performance :
The South Florida Bulls would have a back and forth contest versus the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets in week 2 as the momentum would swing back and forth throughout. Blake Barnett would give the Bulls a 21-17 halftime lead as he would connect with Darnell Solomon in the second period for an 18-yard strike; However, the Yellowjackets would answer after the break with a Tobias Oliver 5-yard run to put them up 24-21. Oliver would also score again early in the 4th quarter to put the road team up 38-28 before the Bulls would make a run thanks to Blake Barnett connecting with Terrance Horne on a 3-yard pass along with a 19-yard scamper by Barnett to give the Bulls the lead for good at 42-38. Barnett would cap the game off with a 5-yard TD run as he would end the game with 207 passing yards and 2 TD’s while also rushing for 82 yards and an additional 2 scores in the win. Tyree McCants would lead the receiving corps with 104 yards total. The Bulls will certainly be looking to utilize McCants on Saturday against a pass defense for Illinois that is currently allowing 282 passing yards per game to their opponents while the Bulls, who are powering in 180 yards on the ground on offense due primarily to Barnett and Oliver, will also be looking to exploit the Illini defense that is ranked in the top 50 nationally in allowing 125 yards per game. Finally, it will be exciting to watch how the Bulls, who are averaging 41.5 points per game, perform against an Illinois defense that only allows 19 points to their opponents.
Illinois Fighting Illini 's Latest Performance :
The Illinois Fighting Illini would outscore Western Illinois 20-7 in the second half after going in at the half 14-7 en route to a huge week 2 home victory on the strength of 2 TD passes by MJ Rivers II who would finish the game with a total of 105 yards passing as he would connect with Edwin Carter twice in this matchup to give the Illini the lead at halftime. After the half, field goal kicker Chase McLaughlin would power in 2 field goals while Stanley Green (blocked punt return for TD) along with Reggie Corbin would put the game out of reach for the Leathernecks. Mike Epstein would also have a solid day in the rushing game as he would have 105 yards on the ground, thus bringing their average to a 261-yard average for the year, ranking them 27th in the nation. They should really be licking their chops to get some time on the field with a Bulls defense that ranks 126th nationally in allowing 305.5 yards rushing to their opponents in 2018. The Illini passing attack has been very mediocre in averaging 164 yards per game this season which plays into USF strengths as they are ranked 9th in pass defense with 112.5 yards per outing. In all, Epstein and Corbin will be the tip of the spear in Illinois taking control of this game as South Florida has struggled with stopping the run while they are allowing 26 points per game as well, though they will not have Carter in the lineup due to injury.
How South Florida Bulls & Illinois Fighting Illini Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Illinois is 1-1 ATS while the O/U is 0-2
South Florida is 1-1 ATS while the O/U is 1-1
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
Illinois will look to pick up a huge victory on Saturday against South Florida. The Bulls, on the other hand, would pick up a momentum building win versus Georgia Tech last week, and I am sure that this will translate to this contest this weekend. In all, look for both teams to establish themselves in the trenches, first and foremost, which will allow them to open up their passing game. With that being said, it will be interesting to see which team will actually be successful at this strategy.
Against The Spread Selection: Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini +10
My reason for the pick :
The Bulls certainly have some playmakers on the offensive end in Barnett, Oliver, and McCants, however, their defense has really struggled in stopping the run. With that being said, expect the Illini to stay in this game at home on the strength of their ability to take advantage of that defensive front for USF while allowing Epstein the ability to find daylight. This seems to be way too many points to allow for a Bulls team that has been so horrible against the run this season, however, it could very well be that their win against the Yellowjackets turned so many heads, that not enough attention was given to the bare essentials concerning this defense: Their run defense is awful, and the Illini will capitalize on Saturday.
Totals Selection: Pick: Over 59
My reason for the prediction :
With South Florida having the ability to score frequently along with their defense allowing their opponents to score equally as frequently, I will certainly take the total to surpass 59 points for this matchup. And while USF is weak in their run defense, the Illini is certainly weakest as it relates to their pass game which is ranked 104th in the nation while the Bulls are averaging 284.5 yards per game in the air, good for 41st in the country. In all, the over will indeed be the strong play in this contest amongst two teams that will be looking to exploit each other’s weaknesses in which to pull out a huge victory.
Betting trends for South Florida Bulls:
- Over is 4-0 in Bulls last 4 neutral site games
- Bulls are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game
- Bulls are 7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Betting trends for Illinois Fighting Illini :
- Fighting Illini are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games on grass
- Under is 5-0 in Fighting Illini last 5 neutral site games
- Under is 6-1 in Fighting Illini last 7 games in September