What Are Illinois’ Big Ten Odds? Season Win Total Preview & Pick

The Illinois Fighting Illini went 5-7 in 2021, and despite missing out on a bowl game, it’s hard to label last season as anything other than a success. It was their second-most wins in the past six years and third most of the past decade. A decade that saw ten losing seasons in Champaign (they went 6-7 in 2014 & 2019). Yes, this was a major rebuilding job that Bret Bielema took over.

Illinois Fighting Illini 2022 Big Ten Preview

2021 Record: 5-7 (4-5); Big Ten Finish: 5th B1G West

AP Poll: NR | Coaches Poll: NR | PFF: No. 61 | SP+: No. 79

Head Coach: Bret Bielema: 5-7 (4-5) | 2nd Season | 102-65 Overall

Offensive Coordinator:  Barry Lunney Jr. (1st Season)

Defensive Coordinator: Ryan Walters (2nd season)

Futures Odds @ FanDuel

National Championship Odds: +100000

B1G Championship Odds: +50000

Win 10 Games: No Line

Regular Season Wins: OVER 4.5 -130 | UNDER 3.5 +110

2022 Sneak Peak

Origin of Optimism: Running backs, Chase Brown and Josh McCray are a good 1-2 punch.

Cause for Concern: Their past five recruiting classes ranked 12-13-14-13-12 in the B1G.

Breakout Player: TE Luke Ford, Senior

It’s a disappointing 2022 if Bielema’s team looks like those of previous regimes.

It’s a successful 2022 if the Fighting Illini make their third bowl since 2011.

X-Factor: Can QB Tommy DeVito rediscover the promise he showed in 2019 at Syracuse?

Schedule

With Wyoming, Virginia, and Chattanooga all coming to Champaign, the Illini should get two out of conference wins with a chance at three. In conference, they have about 4-6 winnable games, so a bowl season is within reach. However, with Northwestern and Indiana both on the road, all nine Big Ten games are very much losable.

OVER/UNDER 4.5 Wins

Coming off a season in which they were 115th in scoring offense and 112th in total offense, you have to imagine the Illini will be better in 2022, but how much? Much depends on Tommy DeVito and his ability to elevate the passing game (122nd in 2021).

Defensively, they were among the most improved groups in all of college football when they jumped from 97th nationally to 29th (fourth in the B1G). Is that sustainable? Remember, in their two big upset wins over Minnesota and Penn State (nine OTs), the offense managed just 24 points in regulation combined. I like some players on this defense, but don’t expect them to be a top-five in the B1G unit again.

I lean to the OVER, but I see way too many games that could go either way for the Illini in 2022. They may be the underdog in ten of 12 games and rank 103rd (last in the B1G) in returning production.

The Pick

Pass