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Illinois vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds, Picks, and Prediction for Week 5
The Illinois Fighting Illini enter Week 5 with a 3-1 record, with their one loss coming in a conference matchup to neighboring Indiana in Week 2. After Illinois' easy victory over Chattanooga last week, they step back into Big Ten Conference play this week, traveling into Madison to play the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin sits at 2-2 and has yet to pick up a win against a Power 5 opponent, dropping two matchups against the Washington State Cougars and the Ohio State Buckeyes, but picking up large wins over FCS Illinois State and New Mexico State. This matchup should be the Fighting Illini's toughest to date. Wisconsin shut out Illinois last season, 24-0.
This contest will feature two of the best running backs in the country in Illinois' running back Chase Brown and Wisconsin's Braelon Allen. Brown has rushed for over 100 yards in every game played this season, including a season-high 199 yards in the loss to Indiana. Allen picked up 165 yards on the ground last week in the Badgers' loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. With plenty of rushing expected from these two teams, this game should have the feel of an old-fashioned Big Ten contest.
Illinois vs. Wisconsin Odds for Week 5
Spread: Wisconsin -7 (Caesars Sportsbook)
Total: 43.5 (Caesars Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Illinois +215, Wisconsin -267 (Caesars Sportsbook)
This game opened at a 9.5-point spread in favor of Wisconsin, it has since shifted to -7. Losing both of their first two contests against Power 5 schools and losing top tight end Clay Cundiff to injury has the Wisconsin Badgers feeling a little weak coming into this contest. The 7-point spread makes more sense than the 9.5-point spread at open. Both of these squads have solid defenses and this has the makings of a low score, ground-and-pound style of contest.
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Illinois vs. Wisconsin Betting Picks this Week
Historically, Wisconsin's defense is very good. It's what keeps them in games. That's not too different this season. The Badgers have allowed less than 200 yards passing per contest this season and have allowed just 19 points per game. That is including the 52-21 beating they just took against Ohio State where C.J. Stroud recorded 281 passing yards and five touchdown passes. In their loss to Washington State, Wisconsin still only managed to allow 17 points. The defense is still pretty good. The issue with this game is that Illinois' defense is strong as well.
The Fighting Illini allowed 23 points in their loss to Indiana in Week 2, but in their other three contests, Illinois' defense has allowed nine points combined. Just six points to Wyoming, three points to Virginia, and zero points to Chattanooga. While those opponents won't strike fear in many teams, it shows the shutdown capability of the Illini's defense.
These clubs have similarly built offenses, with field-manager style quarterbacks (Illinois' Tommy DeVito and Wisconsin's Graham Mertz) and first-class running backs. In a potentially low-scoring affair, I like Illinois' chances of covering the 7-point spread.
Illinois vs. Wisconsin Best Bet: Illinois +7 at Caesars Sportsbook
Illinois vs. Wisconsin Prediction
After being shutout by Wisconsin in 2021, Illinois enters this contest in 2022 as a much more capable opponent. Quarterback Tommy DeVito has been solid under center for the Illini, completing 68.8 percent of his passes for 951 yards and nine touchdowns to just two interceptions in his first four games at Illinois (transfer from Syracuse). Running back Chase Brown has led the way for the Illini on the ground, and is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. With a sturdy defense and an efficient offense, Illinois is certainly a threat against Wisconsin.
While the Badgers should have an easier time with Illinois than they did with Ohio State last week, Wisconsin was down 45-7 entering the fourth quarter against the Buckeyes, and picked up two late touchdowns to give them a more respectable 21 points. Those 21 points against Ohio State feels deceitful. If Braelon Allen struggles to find any open space against an Illinois defense that is allowing an average of 87.3 rushing yards per game, Wisconsin's offense may be halted. The last thing the Badgers need is this game to rely on the arm of Graham Mertz.
I'm backing the +7 spread for Illinois, but the moneyline value of +215 looks like a solid bet as well.
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