Wyoming vs. Illinois Odds: Brett Bielema Has Illinois On The Rise

It’s been a long time since Illinois fans had had a reason to be excited when a new college football season kicked off, but this year is different. Not only are the Fighting Illini 10.5- to 11-point home favorites at Illinois sportsbooks for their season opener Saturday, Aug. 27, against Wyoming, but there is reason to believe the Fighting Illini will do what the name implies this year put up a fight.

Grab a $1,000 risk-free bet for college football with BetMGM Illinois Bonus Code SHARP

Coach Brett Bielema had the team headed in the right direction in the second half of the 2021 season. The question now is whether the team can pick up where it left off against a rebuilding Wyoming Cowboys team.

Wyoming vs. Illinois Odds

SportsbookPoint SpreadMoneylineTotal
BetMGMWyoming +11 (-110)
Illinois -11 (-110)
Wyoming +325
Illinois -450
BetRiversWyoming +10.5 (-108)
Illinois -10.5 (-113)
Wyoming +335
Illinois -480
DraftKingsWyoming +11 (-110)
Illinois -11 (-110)
Wyoming +340
Illinois -425
CaesarsWyoming +11 (-110)
Illinois -11 (-110)
Wyoming +330
Illinois -430

Wyoming Cowboys (7-6 SU, 5-7-1 ATS in 2021)

The Cowboys were not a bad team in 2021, but this season’s team will not look too much like that one. Much of the talent that was on the roster last season is gone. Four offensive linemen are gone, along with the team’s two best options at quarterback, its best running back, and its No. 1 wide receiver.

Utah State transfer Andrew Peasley will likely start at quarterback, but head coach Craig Bowl has yet to name a starter. Peasley was a career backup for the Aggies and attempted 130 passes during his four years with the program. If he’s the best option, the outlook for the offense is bleak this season.

As for the defense, it wasn’t a great one in 2021. But like the offense, it lost a lot of talent to the transfer portal. While the Cowboys lost a pair of cornerbacks to the portal, they also gained a pair in Deron Harrell (Wisconsin) and Jakorey Hawkins (Ole Miss). They have some size and quickness in the front four but not much depth.

More CFB Bonuses: DraftKings Illinois Promo Code for Northwestern vs. Nebraska scores $1,050 free

Illinois Fighting Illini (5-7 SU, 7-4-1 ATS in 2021)

The Fighting Illini might have had the best 5-7 record in college football last season. After a dreadful 2-5 start, Illinois bounced back down the stretch, winning three of its last five. One win came against No. 7-ranked Penn State (a 9 OT, 20-18 win). The second was a 14-6 win over No. 20 Minnesota, 14-6.

While they missed out on a bowl game once again, a 47-14 win over Northwestern to end the season gave fans something they were unaccustomed to — a reason to look forward to next season.

If that late-season success is going to roll over into the 2022 season, the offense needs to improve. Last season it ranked 10th in total yards and 11th in scoring in the Big Ten. New offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. has a solid track record as an OC, and former Syracuse QB Tommy DeVito is an upgrade at a vital position.

The defense is why they recorded massive upsets against Penn State and Minnesota last year. Enough talent is coming back to make it a formidable unit in 2022. Keith Randolph and Jer’Zhan Newton could have breakout years in their sophomore seasons. Tarique Barnes will lead the way at linebacker, and the secondary has a couple of guys with All-Big Ten potential.

Wyoming vs. Illinois Odds: Betting Analysis

Bielema has the Illinois program trending in the right direction. They may struggle to break .500 this season, but the Illini will make opponents earn the win. As for Wyoming, the Cowboys lost too much talent from last year’s 7-6 squad.

Look for this one to be close in the first half, with Illinois pulling away in the second.

Our Pick: Illinois at -10.5 via BetRivers.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.