- Illinois is an 11-point favorite over Wyoming in this Big Ten-Mountain West clash in Champaign on Saturday
- Illinois is 3-1 ATS as a favorite of 10 or more points since the start of the 2019 season
- Read below for Wyoming vs Illinois odds, analysis, and betting prediction
Illinois is an 11-point favorite in its 2022 season opener against Wyoming at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois on Saturday (August 27) at 4:00 pm ET on the Big Ten Network. The Fighting Illini are 3-1 ATS as a favorite of 10 or more points since the start of the 2019 season — but the last time the program won as a double-digit favorite was Nov. 2, 2019, against Rutgers 38-10
Meantime, Wyoming has won five of its last six August games and is 5-3 in lid-lifters under head coach Craig Bohl.
Let’s analyze the Wyoming vs Illinois odds and find the best bet for Saturday’s Week 0 game.
Wyoming vs Illinois Odds
|Over 43.5 (-114)
|Illinois Fighting Illini
|Under 43.5 (-107)
Odds as of August 24th at Barstool Sportsbook.
Wyoming capped off its 2021 campaign with a third consecutive bowl victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, knocking off Kent State. The Pokes previously won the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl over Central Michigan and the 2019 Arizona Bowl over Georgia State. But as has been their trend recently, the Cowboys could face some challenges in this even-numbered year.
The biggest issue is the number of departures out of Laramie. Wyoming lost both starting quarterbacks, its leading wide receiver and top rusher. The Cowboys will attempt to fill the holes they lost on offense with younger players who need time to develop. Conversely, they have at least one big-time transfer of their own.
● CB Spotlight ●
Jakorey Hawkins – Wyoming
• Hawkins is a Transfer from Ole Miss who the Cowboys expect to step in and make a big impact. In his career he has 32 Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 1 PBU, 1 INT & 1 Fumble Recovery. pic.twitter.com/asAc2DUpMg
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) August 23, 2022
Along with Hawkins, the Pokes return most of the defensive production from last season. The unit allowed a respectable 23.6 PPG and 189.6 passing yards per game. With the Illini lacking a dynamic passing game, Wyoming’s defense will challenge Illinois and attempt to force them into 3rd-and-long situations where they will need to throw to the ball to get yards.
What Can Brown Do For U?
With Syracuse transfer quarterback Tommy DeVito being an unknown for head coach Bret Bielema, the Illini will likely lean on a familiar commodity. Enter running back Chase Brown. The junior — who started his college career at Western Michigan — tallied 1,005 rushing yards on 170 carries (5.9 per carry) and five touchdowns in 2021. That includes an opponent-record 223 yards in Happy Valley.
Chase Brown vs Penn State Highlights pic.twitter.com/RJAUqgXTwj
— bigWRguy (@bigWRguy) October 24, 2021
Considering Illinois’ general lack of experience, it will be nice to lean on a tailback of Brown’s talent. He also just happens to fit right into Bielema’s “Smashmouth”-style scheme.
Defensively, this group can ball. The Fighting Illini’s scoring defense (31st from 97th), total defense (32nd from 89th), and third-down defense (51st from 114th) made marked improvements from 2020 to 2021 in Year 1 of the Bielema Era. One more stunning stat: Illinois allowed only one passing touchdown over its final six games of the season. The youthful Wyoming offense needs to be on alert.
As impressive as Brown is, the Pokes have confidence in their primary tailback as well.
With Illinois having a dynamic RB group (Chase Brown/Josh McCray rushed for 1,554 yards in 2021), Wyoming DT Cole Godbout says going up against Titus Swen in practice has them ready for the challenge.
"I think he's one of the best in the country, if not the best in the country."
— Josh Criswell (@criswell_sports) August 24, 2022
Junior Titus Sween rushed for 785 yards and averaged 60.4 yards per game as the backup. He was named to the Second Team All-Mountain West by Pro Football Focus and is an explosive back who has scored two touchdowns of 87 yards or longer. Because of Wyoming’s relative inexperience at the quarterback position (Utah State transfer Andrew Peasley will likely be under center on Saturday), Wyoming will rely upon Sween to produce most of the offense, especially towards the beginning of the season.
Wyoming vs Illinois Prediction
While Wyoming had the better finish to its 2021 season, Illinois is the better team here. The Cowboys have proven in the past that they have a tough time handling Big Ten schools, going 0-6 straight up in their last six games against the conference’s teams.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Illini usually start their campaigns off right. Illinois is 10-1 straight up in its last 11 first games of the season. But that’s SU, not ATS. These teams are both young and this one feels like it will be fairly close.
The pick: Wyoming +11 (-110)