The Illinois Fighting Illini take on the UCLA Bruins on New Years Eve in what is a poor matchup between two poor teams. While this game will lack excitement, it will provide great College Football betting opportunities.
5* graded College Football bowl pick for taking the ‘UNDER’ when the Fighting Illini take on the UCLA Bruins in the Kraft Fight For Hunger Bowl set to start at
3:30 PM ET New Year’s Eve. This is arguably going to be the least watched bowl
game of the season as we have two underserving teams, who played poorly over
the second half of their respective seasons.
Both University administrations have fired their former head
coaches because of poor team play and both hope that this bowl will be a spring
board to a much better 2012 football season.
NCAA Football Betting Line
The college football betting lines opened with Illinois installed as 1 ½ point favorite
and betting support has driven the line high to Illinois favored by three
points paying normal -110 juice. Not surprisingly, NCAAF bettors are looking at other
games for winning opportunities given the teams’ misfortunes and new coaching
staffs. Bets have been nearly equal on UCLA and Illinois and I don’t see the college football odds moving off of the three point price level.
The total for this game was installed at 46 ½ -110 and bettors
have been playing the ‘over’ consistently moving the price though, only a
modest ½ point to the 47 point -110 level. The fact that more than 75% of college football picks being placed are on the ‘over’ and the line has not moved two or three points
is indicate that the ‘sharps’ and large bettors are taking the ‘under’ play at
the 47 point level.
The UCLA Bruins are the first team in more than a decade to play in a
bowl game with a losing record. One reason the Bruins played 13 games is
because they played in the PAC-12 Conference Championship game against Oregon.
Southern California would have played against Oregon, but were ineligible due
to NCAA violations and subsequent sanctions placed on the program. UCLA played
better than expected against Oregon in a 49-31 loss, but easily covered the 31
point spread they were given.
Illinois had everyone’s attention starting the season off on a
torrid 6-0 winning run and reaching No. 16 in the polls. They became one of the
first teams to become bowl eligible after defeating Indiana 41-20 and covering
the 14 point spread October 8. It marked the first time Illinois had started
out a football campaign on a 6-0 run since 1951. However, they are now just one
of nine teams not to have won a football game since October 8.
Becoming bowl eligible marked the first time Illinois earned
back-to-back bowl berths since the 1991-92 season. That strong accomplishment
was overshadowed by the subsequent six game losing streak and was not enough to
save head coach Ron Zook’s job.
The FBS rankings provide a capsulation showing why these teams do
not have winning records. Illinois ranks 87th in the FBS gaining 187
passing yards per game, 41st gaining 171.2 rushing yards per game,
and ranking 91st scoring 22.8 points per game. On defense Illinois
ranks fourth in passing defense allowing 159.1 passing yards per game, 39th
allowing 132.7 rushing yards per game, and 21st allowing 20.1 points
UCLA ranks 78th gaining 198.1 passing yards per game,
29th gaining 190.7 rushing yards per game, and 85th
scoring 23.8 points per game. On defense the Bruins struggled ranking 69th
allowing 232.6 passing yards per game, 91st allowing 191.5 rushing
yards per game, and 96th allowing 32.2 points per game.
My proprietary sports betting database and simulator show a
high probability that fewer than 47 points will be scored in this game. The sim
shows that UCLA will play improved defense against a struggling offensive
Illinois offensive unit. Illinois is projected to gain between 5.0 and 5.5
yards per play. In past games when UCLA has allowed this measure of offensive
output the ‘UNDER’ has posted a perfect 4-0 mark this season, 9-2 mark the past
three seasons, and 26-11 mark since 1992.
My Pick: Take the ‘UNDER’