Illinois vs Purdue Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 11

Illinois vs Purdue Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 11

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

Illinois vs. Purdue Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 11

Illinois quietly took a commanding lead in the Big Ten West to start the season. But this race swung back open when the Fighting Illini fell to Michigan State at home last week by a score of 23-15. Now, they should have a chance to all but lock up the division with a win Saturday versus Purdue, leading up to what is likely their biggest game of the year in Michigan next week. 

Purdue had one of the most off-the-rails starts in the country, including wild, back-and-forth losses to Penn State and Syracuse. The Boilermakers eventually got things back on track by rattling off four straight wins through the heart of their schedule, but they were then bullied on both sides of the ball in back-to-back losses to Iowa and Wisconsin. Purdue is still in the race for the Big Ten West title, as a win would tie them for first place in the division.

This game will feature a real clash of styles on both sides of the ball. Whichever philosophy wills out could determine not just this game, but the fate of the Big Ten West title. 

Illinois vs. Purdue Odds for Week 11

Spread: Illinois -6.5 (-110, BetMGM); Purdue +6.5 (-105, FanDuel Sportsbook)

Total: 44.5 (-110, BetMGM)

Moneyline: Illinois -250 (BetMGM); Purdue +210 (FanDuel Sportsbook)

There's been essentially no line movement since the beginning of the week, other than a slight dip in the total, which initially opened at 46 or 47 points. This over/under mark sits almost exactly halfway between the average combined points from Illinois' games this season (37.0) and those of Purdue (50.2). Overall, this makes sense as both teams have pretty much shown who they are after nine games played this season. 

These squads also have had near-polar-opposite results in their games this season: Purdue is 3-6 ATS with the over hitting six times, while Illinois has covered the spread in six of their contests with the under going 6-2-1.

Illinois vs. Purdue Betting Picks This Week

Whichever team's distinct style of play prevails should determine the over/under outcome as well. Jeff Brohm's Boilermakers are true barnstormers, looking to dance on the edge of disaster with an offense that passes the ball 60.3 percent of the time (ninth in the nation), balanced by a defense that has gotten by with a bend-but-don't-break mentality. This rollercoaster ride of a team should come with a fan waiver stating that the program is not responsible for any heart-rate induced anxiety felt while watching its games. 

Meanwhile, Bret Bielema's Illinois is your quintessential Big Ten West program, wanting to suffocate opposing offenses with an extremely physical defense while keeping everything between the lines with its offense, which runs the ball and then runs the ball some more -- 7.3 percent rushing rate over expectation is the 23rd-highest mark in the FBS, per @statsowar on Twitter. It's a team that will make sure the game gets finished in three hours or less and will have your daughter home by 10:30 p.m. on the dot. 

Purdue's amusement-park approach has led to some disappointing results over its last two games -- being outscored 59-27 -- while facing teams with extremely similar identities to that of the Fighting Illini. For that reason, I feel a lot more confident picking Illinois' conservative philosophy to overcome that of their free-wheeling opponents. Everything about this indicates a slow-paced slogfest that will keep the scoring down and spectators nodding off in their seats.

Illinois vs. Purdue Best Bet: UNDER 44.5 (-110) at BetMGM

Illinois vs. Purdue Prediction

Purdue's offensive philosophy feels like a recipe for failure against this Illinois defense. As stated above, the Boilermakers are highly leveraged into their passing game piloted by quarterback Aidan O'Connell. While the graduate senior looked like one of the Big Ten's best passers in 2021, he hasn't been nearly as good this season, completing a pedestrian 64 percent of his passes en route to a 15-to-10 TD:INT ratio.

O'Connell's 44.8 attempts per game rank as the fourth-highest mark in the FBS, but his 6.8 yards per attempt ranks 85th. This lack of explosiveness in the passing game combined with a so-so rushing attack has resulted in an early downs EPA of -0.030, according to @statsowar. This should lead to a lot of difficult third downs against an Illinois defense that averages 2.89 sacks per game and ranks third in late-down down success rate allowed at 28.04 percent, per @statsowar.

In these situations, O'Connell will almost certainly turn to his top pass catchers in star wideout Charlie Jones and tight end Payne Durham, as these two have been targeted an average of 19.6 times per game. However, this fairly one-dimensional attack won't work against the Fighting Illini pass defense, which has allowed the nation's second-lowest yards per attempt (5.2), thanks to a trio of defensive backs in Jartavius Martin, Devon Witherspoon and Sydney Brown, who have combined for 35 passes defended this season. Even if the Boilermakers do manage to get by on third and fourth downs, this will likely just lead to more opportunities for Illinois to add to its nation-leading total of 16 interceptions this season.

Converting on late downs will be just as important for the Illinois offense, as this unit moved the chains on six of 17 third downs and only one of its sixth fourth downs during last week's uncharacteristic loss to Michigan State.

As per usual, expect a heavy dose of running back Chase Brown, who is first in the FBS for carries per game (29.6) and second for rushing yards per game (154.5). Pounding the ball on the ground against Purdue's defense shouldn't be that easy, as this unit sits 40th in rushing success rate allowed (37.1 percent), per @statsowar. However, they did just give up 200 yards on 22 carries to running back Kaleb Johnson when faced with Iowa's comparable rushing attack last week.

Game-managing quarterback Tommy DeVito has also been extremely efficient, ranking second in the nation for completion percentage at 71.8 while averaging 7.4 yards per attempt, which should help keep these Boilermaker defenders on the field for extended stretches. Don't be surprised if Illinois, which ranks 110th in red zone scoring percentage (75%) and 125th in red zone touchdown percentage (40%), struggles to come away with points on some of its longer drives. However, repeated looks on their opponents' end of the field should eventually net enough points to secure a comfortable win in this get-right game for the Fighting Illini. 

Final Score Prediction: Illinois 26, Purdue 10

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Wollersheim
2022 University of Wisconsin graduate and blind lover of all things college football. Also an unbiased observer of NFL, CFB, NBA and CBB for all teams not located in the cheese capital of the world.
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