Toledo vs Illinois Prediction - College Football Picks 9/2/23

Illinois Fighting Illini (0-0) vs Toledo Rockets (0-0)

Game Info: Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 7:30 pm (Memorial Stadium)

Betting Odds: Illinois Fighting Illini -9 -- Over/Under: 49.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Toledo Rockets and Illinois Fighting Illini face off on Saturday in a Week 1 College Football showdown at Memorial Stadium. 

Toledo Goes Through Dequan Finn

The Toeldo Rockets have high expectations for this season and a big reason for that is quarterback Dequan Finn. Finn is entering his fifth year and he was dynamic last year throwing for 2,260 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 631 yards and nine touchdowns. Finn is a dynamic player who should find some success here, against a good Fighting Illini defense. On defense the strength of this team is with the secondary, and they are going to need to lockdown with the defense here. This secondary should be one of the best in the MAC. 

Toledo Betting Trends

  • Toledo has won eight of its last nine season openers.
  • Toledo has failed to cover the spread in six of its last seven games.
  • Each of Toledo's last five road openers as an underdog have gone OVER the total points line.

Illinois Looks to Build on Last Season

Illinoils last season finished with an 8-5 record overall and they are looking for back to back winning seasons for the first time since the 2010-11 season. Last season Illinois didn’t get good enough quarterback play, and if they would have, the record would have been even better. Starting under center this season will be Luke Altmyer after being a star recruit for Ole Miss. Out wide the Fighting Illini are going to be led by Isaiah Williams who’s numbers should only improve with Altmyer under center. The defense is expected to be very good again, but the secondary does have some pieces that need to be replaced. The secondary is going to be young, but Tyler Strain could become one of the better defensive players in the Big Ten. 

Illinois Betting Trends

  • Illinois has won each of its last four games against non-conference opponents at Memorial Stadium (Champaign).
  • The underdog has covered the spread in each of Illinois' last four games at Memorial Stadium (Champaign).
  • Illinois has won the first quarter in three of its last four games against non-conference opponents.
  • Illinois has won the first half in each of its last three games against non-conference opponents at Memorial Stadium (Champaign).
  • Each of Illinois' last six games in September have gone UNDER the total points line.

Toledo and Illinois Facts

  • Illinois ranked 3rd among FBS teams for H1 points allowed per game last season (6.7).
  • Illinois ranked T4th among FBS teams for Q1 win percentage last season (.692).
  • Toledo ranked 18th among FBS teams for Q4 points per game last season (9.2).
  • Toledo was one of only 20 FBS teams to win 3+ games when trailing at HT last season.

Shane’s Free Pick

I do expect Finn to make a couple of dynamic plays here, but mostly Illinois is going to lockdown the Toledo offense. The Illinois defense is still going to be one of the best in college football, and Toledo is going to struggle to move the ball. Altmyer is a big improvement to the Fighting Illini offense also, and this Toledo defense is going to really struggle to slow him down. The Fighting Illini will win this game by at least two touchdowns. Back Illinois against the spread. 

Shane’s Pick Illinois -9

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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