Illinois vs. Fresno State Line at -5.5

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Illinois vs. Fresno State

The Illinois vs. Fresno State line was listed at -5.5 in favor of Illinois as of Friday afternoon.  The total on this game was 57.5. 

Illinois travels west for a regular-season finale with Fresno State. The Illini had a bye last week to rest their weary legs from the 519-rushing-yard output they had in a win over Northwestern at Wrigley Field on Nov. 20. Fresno State was crushed 51-0 at Boise State on Nov. 19, and barely recovered in time to edge Idaho by a field goal last week.

If this game is anything like their meeting in Champaign last year, fans will certainly get their money’s worth. Fresno State pulled off the 53-52 win when Ryan Colburn connected on a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jamel Hamler with two seconds remaining in the game. Two of the stars of that contest are no longer in college. Bulldogs RB Ryan Mathews rushed for 173 yards and three scores and Illini QB Juice Williams threw for 211 yards and 3 TD. But Colburn and Hamler are back for an encore, and so is Illini RB Mikel Leshoure who rushed for 184 yards on just 11 carries (16.7 YPC) and scored three times versus Fresno State.

Leshoure is coming off a school-record 330-yard rushing performance against Northwestern. He also scored twice, giving him 12 total touchdowns in his past four games. Leshoure has seven 100-yard games this year and his 125 rushing YPG ranks eighth in the nation and second in the Big Ten. Leshoure could have his work cut out for him against a sometimes-great Fresno State run defense that has limited three opponents (Cincinnati, San Jose State and Idaho) to 15 rushing yards or less in a game this year.

Fresno State has allowed 35-plus points in four games this season, but a lot of that has to do with bad field position as the result of turnovers. Fresno has a minus-9 turnover ratio this year, giving the football away four times in last week’s win over Idaho. Offensively, Colburn (18 TD, 9 INT) and Hamler (633 receiving yards) have had solid years, but both players know the offense revolves around RB Robbie Rouse. The sophomore ranks 13th in the nation, and second in the WAC, with 110 rushing YPG. In his past six games, Rouse has averaged 154 rushing YPG with eight total touchdowns. Considering Illinois has allowed an average of 182 rushing YPG in its past four games, Rouse could have a big night.

Fresno State is 4-6 ATS this year, including 2-3 ATS at home. Illinois is 8-3 ATS with a 4-1 ATS road record. These two trends expect Illinois to come out on top Friday night.<P>

Sportsbook.com has a huge decision on the game, as 82% of action on the spread is backing the Fighting Illini, who opened up as 6 point favorites.

Play On - Any team (ILLINOIS) - in a game involving two average teams (within +/- 50 YPG of their opponents) after 7+ games, after outgaining opp by 225 or more total yards in their previous game. (74-35 since 1992.) (67.9%, +35.5 units. Rating = 3*).<P>

FRESNO ST is 1-10 ATS (-10.0 Units) after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse over the last 3 seasons. The average score was FRESNO ST 32.5, OPPONENT 36.8 - (Rating = 2*).

Play Over - All teams where the total is between 56.5 and 63 (ILLINOIS) - off 1 or more straight overs, in a game involving two good offensive teams (28-34 PPG). (30-8 since 1992.) (78.9%, +21.2 units. Rating = 3*).

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