Illinois vs Kansas Prediction - College Football Picks 9/8/23

Kansas Jayhawks (1-0) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0)

Game Info: Friday, September 8, 2023 at 7:30 pm (Kivisto Field at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium)

Betting Odds: Kansas Jayhawks -3 -- Over/Under: 58 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Illinois Fighting Illini will play the Kansas Jayhawks on Friday night in a non-conference game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas. Illinois was barely able to avoid an upset in Week 1, while Kansas pulled away from Missouri State late. 

Illinois Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini are 1-0 this season after they defeated Toledo by a score of 30-28 in their first game. Illinois trailed this game by a score of 12-7 at the half and they fell down 19-7 early in the third quarter, but they were able to get a huge pick six that changed the momentum. Illinois scored 21 straight points to go up 27-19, but watched as their lead slipped away. The Fighting Illini ended up getting a game winning field goal with five seconds left to avoid the loss. Illinois was out gained by a total of 416-374 and the turnover battle was tied at one. Illinois threw for 206 yards and rushed for 168 yards, while going 3-9 on third down attempts and 2-3 on fourth downs. The Illinois defense really struggled in this game and they were lucky to escape an upset. Luke Altmyer threw for 206 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, while also adding 69 rushing yards. Reggie Love III rushed for 63 yards, while Pat Bryant caught six passes for 59 yards and two scores. Illinois will need to be a lot better against a Kansas team that has the ability to put up a lot of points.

Kansas Preview

The Kansas Jayhawks are 1-0 this season after they defeated Missouri State by a score of 48-17 in Week 1. Kansas trailed this game 10-7 early in the second quarter, but they scored 20 straight points to lead 27-10 going into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Missouri State cut the lead to 27-17, before Kansas scored three straight touchdowns to end the game. Kansas out gained Missouri State by a total of 521-217 and forced two turnovers in the win. The Jayhawks threw for 276 yards and rushed for 245, while going 6-11 on third down attempts. The Kansas defense played well, as they should against a team like Missouri State, and they held them to 1-9 on third down conversions. Jason Bean threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 41 yards. Devin Neal rushed for 94 yards and one score, while Lawrence Arnold caught four passes for 77 yards in the game. The Jayhawks didn’t play great to start the game, but they finished very strong in the fourth quarter. 

Kansas Jayhawks Team Facts

  • Kansas has won each of its last five games in September.
  • Kansas has failed to cover the spread in eight of its last nine games.
  • Kansas has won the first half in seven of its last eight games against non-conference opponents at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
  • Seven of Kansas' last eight games in September have gone OVER the total points line.

Illinois Fighting Illini Team Facts

  • Illinois has lost 15 of its last 16 September games as an underdog.
  • Illinois has failed to cover the spread in each of its last four road openers.
  • Each of Illinois' last five September road games against non-AP-ranked teams have gone UNDER the total points line.

Matchup/League Facts

  • Kansas ranked 26th among FBS teams for Q2 points per game last season (10.4).
  • Kansas ranked 27th among FBS teams for H2 points per game last season (16.2).
  • 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).


Illinois will look for a bounce back performance in this game, after they played very poorly in the opener. On the other side, this will be the first true test that Kansas has, but they have the benefit of being at home. I don’t think either defense is going to be very good this year, but I have some serious doubts about that Illinois offense. If it wasn’t for that pick six against Toledo, I am not sure there offense would have been able to get going. I do like this Kansas team and I think they are going to build off of their success last year. The Jayhawks should be able to move the ball on Illinois and I like them to get the win here. 

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

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