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Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Where and when: The University of Illinois – Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois, Saturday, 12:00 pm EST
The Eagles of Eastern Michigan will travel to The University of Illinois – Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois, to battle the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday afternoon at 12 pm EST. This will be the first-ever meeting between these two football teams with PointsBet having the Fighting Illini favored by eight points at the moment.
Illinois has scored thirty or more points in each of their first two games. Their defense continues to impress as they continue to prevent teams from running the ball in surrendering only thirty-seven yards, thus far. Their come from behind victory over the Connecticut Huskies last weekend may very well prove to be a huge momentum-builder heading into this week’s matchup versus the Eagles at home.
Momentum is certainly what the Illini needs, particularly at home where they have dropped three of their last four games, overall. Furthermore, they are also 1-3 ATS in their last four in Champaign. They were, however, able to halt a twelve-year non-conference road losing streak with their win over the Huskies.
On the other hand, the Eastern Michigan Eagles lost a great deal of swagger on the road versus the Kentucky Wildcats in week-two. And despite having QB Terry Wilson out of the lineup for the Wildcats due to a severe knee injury, Kentucky was able to build from a 17-3 halftime lead to close out the Eagles in the second half.
Mike Glass III led the passing attack with over 300 yards in the air for Eastern Michigan’s 51st ranked passing attack; However, he also threw two picks during the contest while their offense simply did not move the ball effectively enough on the ground. Important to note that the Eagles have dropped fourteen of their last twenty-three non-conference games.
Illinois not overlooking Eastern Michigan
Coach Lovie Smith labeled the Eagles of Eastern Michigan “a worthy opponent”. He also stated that the team is “excited about coming back home’, despite winning only one of their last four in their own backyard, as pointed out. “A lot of reasons why we want to get back on the football field. We’ve been practicing well. Our guys know how important it is to eliminate mistakes early on.”
And mistakes were exactly what the Fighting Illini committed early on in their win over the Huskies last weekend. QB Brandon Peters three a pick-six with only four minutes into the first quarter as Illinois faced a 10-0 deficit after the opening period. However, the quarterback threw three big touchdown passes in the second while throwing his second of the night to Josh Imatorbhebhe, who finished with just four catches for forty-two yards in the win.
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) August 20, 2019
Nonetheless, the Fighting Illini will focus on a much better start on each side of the ball as Eastern Michigan looks to be an entirely different team than the Huskies. However, they may suit up with wide receiver Edwin Carter (questionable-knee) while also being a bit lighter at the running back position with Reggie Corbin also being questionable with a hip injury. Also, defensive back Tony Adams is also questionable with an upper-body injury for the Fighting Illini.
Eagles cannot keep up with Wildcats in loss
Eastern Michigan went 1-1 ATS on the year in failing to cover 15.5 points as an underdog to the Kentucky Wildcats last Saturday. They will play their third-straight road contest this Saturday before being home for the first time in 2019 when they face Central Connecticut on September 21st. Nonetheless, the Eagles have picked up wins in three of their last five road games, with losses to Western Michigan in October of last year and, of course, to the Wildcats last week. They are also 3-2 against the spread in these outings with the under being the play in three of those five, overall.
EMU looks to continue its recent success against teams from the Big 10, as they travel to Illinois this Saturday, Sept. 14
Check out this week's game preview and press conference⤵️
— Eastern Michigan Football (@EMUFB) September 9, 2019
And while their rushing attack may be a bit shaky to begin the season in averaging just over seventy yards per game, good for 123rd in the NCAA, their passing game with Glass III has been clicking on all cylinders early in putting up 260 yards per outing. And despite two big picks versus Kentucky, the senior has five touchdowns on the year along with a 72% completion percentage. However, Eastern Michigan has struggled with slow starts thus far as they have not scored in the first quarter in 2019.
Lastly, they faced a 10-0 deficit after the opening quarter in a win over Coastal Carolina in week-one before going down 14-0 versus Kentucky.
- No trends to report
- No trends to report
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Eight points is simply too much to give a team in the Illini that may be sporting a bit of confidence at this point in the year; Yet, the Fighting Illini’s defense can be a bit giving to opponents, as illustrated in their first two contests. With that being said, expect Glass III and the Eagles air-raid offense to pick up some huge scores as they work on a shaky defensive backfield for Illinois. I would not be surprised if the Eagles won this game outright.
Prediction: Pick: Eastern Michigan Eagles +8
Full-Game Total Pick
I will expect the score to balloon at some point in this contest as the Eagles seem to be unstoppable once their offense gets going. On the other hand, Illinois has some potent pieces to their offense as well and will certainly give the Eagles headaches early on. With that being said, look for this to be a shootout to where defense will be nonexistent as the over will indeed be the strong play in the end.
Prediction: Pick: Over 55