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Analyzing the Odds: Illinois football hosts Penn State



Miles Scott

Illinois hosts Penn State on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

This weekend’s game between the Fighting Illini and the Nittany Lions is a tale of teams going in opposite directions. Penn State has looked every bit the contender in the Big Ten East, while Illinois has struggled in its first two games.

Penn State opened the season with an impressive 38-15 victory against the West Virginia Mountaineers, followed by a dominant 63-7 win versus the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Quarterback Drew Allar has been as advertised, completing 78% of his passes for 529 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Illini opened its season with a comeback victory against the Toledo Rockets but lost at Kansas last week 34-23

Quarterback Luke Altmyer has been the offensive bright spot for the Illini, completing 69% of his passes for 408 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. The Mississippi transfer also leads Illinois in rushing with 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Odds the Illini v. Penn State

  • Spread: Illinois +14.5 Penn State -14.5
  • Moneyline: Illinois +490 Penn State -710
  • Over/Under: 48.5 (Even to both)

This season, the Illini are 1-1 on the money line, 1-1 on the over/under, and 0-2 against the spread. On the other hand, Penn State is 2-0 on the money line, against the spread, and on the over/under.

First Half Lines:

  • Spread: Illinois +8.5, Penn State -8.5
  • Total (over/under): 24.5

Can Illinois football win this game?

The short answer is no. Penn State leads the all-time series  20-6. The Illini have lost three of four to the Nittany Lions, though Illinois did win their last matchup in 2021, the infamous nine-overtime game in Happy Valley. Penn State is coming in playing better football. Running backs Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton are one of the best running back tandems in college football.

Illinois, on the other hand, have not played their best football. They have been undisciplined, committing 16 penalties in two games. The Illini’s biggest struggle is where their strength was supposed to be, along the lines of scrimmage. Penn State will win big on Saturday afternoon if Illinois doesn’t play better in the trenches.


Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.