Saturday, December 5, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois, 3:30 p.m. ET
Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Betting Preview: Hawkeyes (-13.5), Fighting Illini (+13.5)
Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview
No. 19 Iowa is seeking its first five-game winning streak since opening 2015 with 12 straight wins, and coach Kirk Ferentz sees the Fighting Illini as a different team with Brandon Peters back at quarterback in a 41-23 win at Nebraska.
“The last time out when they had their quarterback back in and were able to do the things they wanted to do, they did them extremely well against a team that we struggled to beat the other day,” Ferentz said. “It was an impressive outing when they were with Nebraska, and that’s the Illinois team we’re trying to get ready for right now.”
Peters, who played for the first time since the opener after being sidelines by COVID-19 issues, threw for 205 yards and a touchdown to improve to 7-5 in his career in games he’s able to complete. Four others took a crack at the position, with minimal success, while Peters was out.
The Hawkeyes (4-2, 4-2 Big Ten) have gotten their offense going in their current four-game winning streak, outscoring their last four opponents by a combined 151-55 and averaging 37.8 points per game.
“Our goal at the start of the season wasn’t to be 4-2, but four weeks ago that was the best we could do,” Ferentz said. “I’m proud of what they’ve done the last four weeks.”
In the 26-20 win over Nebraska last week, Tyler Goodson rushed for 111 yards on a career-high 30 carries and Spencer Petras completed 18-of-30 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once. The Hawkeyes scored the final 13 points of the game for their sixth straight win in the series.
Last week’s game for the Illini (2-3) against No. 3 Ohio State was canceled due to COVID concerns and thus the Illini are still seeking a third straight win after knocking off Rutgers 23-20 and Nebraska 41-23 for the first time in Lincoln since 1924 their last two outings.
“As we went into the football season, we knew we were going to need to be flexible, that things could change quickly, and that’s exactly what happened for us this past week,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. “We were really excited about playing one of the best teams in the country here at home, but once the decision was made by the league, we moved on quickly to Iowa.
“It doesn’t take much for us to get fired up about playing the Hawkeyes.”
Illinois has had five 100-yard rushing efforts in its last three games, including two each from Mike Epstein and Chase Brown. Against Nebraska, Epstein picked up 113 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and Brown carried 26 times for 110 yards and two scores.
The Illini average 222.4 yards per game on the ground, second only to Ohio State’s 233.3 in the Big Ten.
For the second straight game, the Illini defense picked off three passes. Linebacker Jake Hansen has made one in each game.
Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Betting Pick for December 5, 2020
The Illini lead the series 38-35-2, but the Hawkeyes have been closing fast with 14 wins in the last 17 meetings and 11 in the last 12. Their current winning streak over the Illini is six games and includes two shutouts, 63-0 in 2018 and 28-0 in 2016. The most recent wins for each team came against Nebraska with the Illini winning 41-23 two weeks ago and the Hawkeyes winning 26-20 last week.
Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Betting Pick:
Hawkeyes 28, Fighting Illini 24
Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Best Bet for December 5, 2020
The Hawkeyes have won the last two meetings in Champaign by a combined 91-0 score. They are coming off a 26-20 win over Nebraska, however, that marked their lowest scoring output since 24-20 and 21-20 losses to Purdue and Northwestern, respectively, to start the season. Their 41 points against Nebraska were a season high for the Illini.
Hawkeyes at Fighting Illini Best Bet: OVER 50.5