Penn State vs Illinois Prediction - College Football Picks 9/16/23

Illinois Fighting Illini (1-1) vs Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0)

Game Info: Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 12:00 pm (Memorial Stadium)

Betting Odds: Illinois Fighting Illini +14.5 -- Over/Under: 48.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Penn State Nittany Lions will play the Illinois Fighting Illini in a Big Ten game on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. Penn State comes into this matchup undefeated and ranked in the top-10, while Illinois will look to bounce back after a tough loss. 

Penn State Preview

The Penn State Nittany Lions are 2-0 this season after they defeated Delaware by a score of 63-7 in their last game. Penn State dominated this game from start to finish and led 35-7 at the half. The Nittany Lions racked up 541 total yards and held Delaware to only 140 yards, while forcing two turnovers. Penn State went 8-14 on third down attempts and 3-3 on fourth downs. Penn State is averaging 50.5 points per game with 279 passing yards per game and 230.5 rushing yards per game. The Nittany Lions have held their opponents to only 11 points against per game. Drew Allar has thrown for 529 yards and four touchdowns for Penn State. Kaytron Allen has rushed for 154 yards and one touchdown, while KeAndre Lambert-Smith has caught 10 passes for 197 yards and two scores. Penn State has looked very good to start the season, but will be playing in their first road game here. 

Illinois Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini are 1-1 this year after they lost to Kansas by a score of 34-23 in their last game. Illinois trailed this game by a score of 34-7 late in the third quarter, so even though they scored a couple of times to end the game, it was never really that close. Illinois was out gained by a total of 539-341 and allowed 277 passing yards and 262 rushing yards in the loss. Illinois struggled in their first game of the season as well, barely escaping an upset loss against Toledo by a score of 30-28. Illinois is averaging 26.5 points per game with 204 passing yards per game and 153.5 rushing yards per game. The Fighting Illini have struggled defensively against Toledo and Kansas and they are allowing 31 points against per game. Luke Altmyer has thrown for 408 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions, while also rushing for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Reggie Love III has rushed for 108 yards, while Isaiah Williams has caught 11 passes for 150 yards for Illinois. Illinois has not played very well through two games and they are going to have their hands full with a very good Penn State team in this matchup.

Illinois Fighting Illini Team Facts

  • Illinois has lost 31 of its last 33 games against AP-ranked teams.
  • The underdog has covered the spread in each of Illinois' last five games at Memorial Stadium (Champaign).
  • Illinois has won the first quarter in four of its last five home games against conference opponents.
  • Each of Illinois' last five September games as an underdog have gone UNDER the total points line.

Penn State Nittany Lions Team Facts

  • Penn State has won each of its last 14 games against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Penn State has covered the spread in each of its last eight games as a favorite.
  • Penn State has won the first half in eight of its last nine games against conference opponents.
  • Each of Penn State's last four road games against non-AP-ranked teams have gone OVER the total points line.

Matchup/League 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).
  • Penn State ranked T8th among FBS teams for Q4 win percentage last season (.692).
  • Penn State ranked 9th among FBS teams for Q2 points per game last season (12.1).


Penn State comes into this game with a 2-0 record and they are 2-0 against the spread to start the season. The Nittany Lions have looked very good on both sides of the ball, with their first win coming against West Virginia by a score of 38-15. Illinois was nearly upset by Toledo in Week 1, where they allowed 28 points, before having a really tough game against Kansas in Week 2. The Illinois defense is nowhere near the level they played at last season and they face a very high scoring Penn State team here. I expect Penn State to move the ball fairly easily in this game and I am going to take the Nittany Lions to win by a few scores here. 

David’s Pick Penn State -14.5

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

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