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College Football Betting Preview: Penn St Nittany Lions vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

September 16, 2023


We have a battle of two Big Ten teams when the #7-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions travel to take on the 1-1 Illinois Fighting Illini in week 3 of the college football season. 

The Nittany Lions are 2-0 this season following wins at home against the West Virginia Mountaineers in week 1 and the Delaware Blue Hens in week 2 by a score of 63-7.  The Illinois Fighting Illini are 1-1 following a win in week 1 at home against the Toledo Rockets by a score of 30-28 and a loss on the road against the Kansas Jayhawks by a score of 23-34. 

Will Penn State improve to 3-0 on the season or will the Illinois Fighting Illini pull off the upset at home? Let’s take a look at how these teams have fared this season.

The Penn State Nittany Lions enter this game ranked 7th in the AP Poll and 7th in the Coaches Poll with a record of 2-0 following a 63-7 win at home against the Delaware Blue Hens covering the 44-point spread as a home favorite in week 2 of the college football season. Penn State scored 63 points while compiling 541 total yards offensively which included 226 passing yards and 315 rushing yards while allowing 7 points and 140 total yards defensively which included 58 passing yards and 82 rushing yards. 

Drew Allar led the team in passing, completing 22 of 26 attempts for 204 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 27 yards and a rushing touchdown. Kaytron Allen led the team in rushing with 19 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. KeAndre Lambert-Smith led the team in receiving, catching all six targets for 74 yards.

Illinois enters this game with a record of 1-1 following a 23-34 loss on the road against the Kansas Jayhawks while failing to cover the 3.5-point spread as a road underdog in week 2 of the college football season. The Fighting Illini scored 23 points while compiling 341 total yards offensively which included 202 passing yards and 139 rushing yards while allowing 34 points and 539 total yards defensively which included 277 passing yards and 262 rushing yards. 

Luke Altmyer led the team in passing, completing 19 of 28 attempts for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while also leading the team in rushing with 70 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Williams led the team in receiving with six receptions for 99 yards.

BookMaker has the Penn State Nittany Lions listed as 15-point favorites on the road against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday afternoon in week 3 of the college football season. Penn State has won seven of the last ten and two of the last three games in the series while going 2-1 ATS in the last three matchups. Penn State is 2-0 ATS overall and 2-0 ATS as a favorite this season while Illinois is 0-2 ATS overall, 0-1 ATS at home, and 0-1 ATS as an underdog.

Penn State is the better team this season and should have no trouble getting the win in this matchup. The Nittany Lions are 2-0 ATS overall while the Fighting Illini are 0-2 ATS this season which is why I will be taking the Penn State Nittany Lions -15 on the road against the Illinois Fighting Illini in week 3 of the college football season on BookMaker. 

Spooky Express Pick: Penn State Nittany Lions -15