Jack's Free Pick Saturday!
UCLA vs. Illinois,
12/31/2011 15:30 EDT,
Score: 14 - 20
Point Spread: -2/-110 Illinois
Illinois is clearly one of the best 6-6 teams in the country. They simply did not close out the season strong, and as a result they are undervalued heading into this bowl game. I'll gladly back their defense over a UCLA defense that cannot stop anyone.
Illinois ranks 7th in the country in total defense (291.7 yards/game). They are tremendous against the run, yielding just 133 yards/game and 3.3/carry on the ground. UCLA is primarily a running team and will have a hard time finding open lanes to run through Saturday.
The Bruins rank 86th in the country in total defense (424.2 yards/game) while allowing 32.2 points/game. As you can see, they give up over 130 yards/game more than Illinois does. UCLA allows 192 rushing yards/game and 5.2/carry, while the Illini rush for 171 yards/game and 4.1/carry.
Given all the numbers, you can see why this is an excellent match-up for Illinois. Plus, the Bruins are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog of 0.5-3.0. UCLA is 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games overall. The Illini are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS loss. Bet Illinois Saturday.