Ohio State opens as 24 point favorites against Illinois

It's hard being orange. - Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

It's been a rough year for Illinois. Vegas expects that trend to continue.

It hasn't been a pretty inaugural year for Tim Beckman and the Illinois Fighting Illini. While some Illini faithful are already calling for the coach's job (and especially in lieu of how he handled recruiting prospective transfers from Penn State, such a sentiment isn't that difficult to understand), when common sense ultimately prevails, you'd expect a coach to at least get the opportunity to get his own players into the fold before rendering judgement on their overall success. Ron Zook's final team went 6-6 before his termination, and well, his system didn't have a ton of parallels to the one the former Buckeye assistant Beckman runs.

In light of the Illini coming off a disappointing 31-17 loss to historical lightweights Indiana, a consensus of Las Vegas odds makers have the Buckeyes slotted as initial 24 point home favorites against Illinois. Keeping in mind that this Ohio State team has played up and down to their opposition basically all season, if you're into speculative wagering (for leisure purposes only, natch), you may want to be weary of this one... or not. I mean, Illinois is pretty rough around the edges.

While it's hard to imagine that this group of Illini is the same ones led by Nathan Scheelhaase that hung with the Buckeyes in a 17-7 game last year and the year prior in a 24-13 affair, much like Purdue before them, there's something about Illinois both on the road and at home against the Buckeyes. Gamblers: proceed cautiously accordingly.

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