A non-conference battle featuring the Illinois Fighting Illini (2-1) taking on the Chattanooga Mocs (3-0) is set for Thursday night. Illinois is looking to defend their home turf and improve to 3-0 at Memorial Stadium. On the other side, Chattanooga has started the 2022 campaign strong. They are fresh off a dominating 41-14 win over North Alabama. Illinois is 17-0 all-time against FCS level opponents.

Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET. Caesars Sportsbook lists the Fighting Illini as 19.5-point favorites in the latest Illinois vs. Chattanooga odds. The over/under for total points is set at 44.5. Before making any Chattanooga vs. Illinois picks, be sure to see the college football predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's Micah Roberts.

Roberts has worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for 20-plus years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos' book director. Armed with an elaborate network of sources, Roberts has unmatched info in multiple sports. Over the past four college football picks, Roberts is 3-1, returning almost $200 during that span. He is also on a strong 4-0-1 run with his last five against-the-spread picks involving the Fighting Illini, returning $400 to $100 players. 

Now, Roberts has set his sights on Illinois vs. Chattanooga and just locked in his picks and CFB predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are the college football odds and betting lines for Chattanooga vs. Illinois: 

  • Illinois vs. Chattanooga spread: Illinois -19.5
  • Illinois vs. Chattanooga over-under: 44.5 points
  • Illinois vs. Chattanooga money line: Chattanooga +800, Illinois -1400
  • CHAT: The Mocs are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games in September
  • ILL: The Fighting Illini are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall
  • Illinois vs. Chattanooga picks: See picks at SportsLine
Featured Game | Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Chattanooga Mocs

Why Illinois can cover

Illinois has been playing solid defense at the beginning of the 2022 campaign. They have playmakers at all three levels on the defense and it's flashed already. This group ranks sixth in the Big Ten in total yards allowed per game (265.3). Sophomore defensive lineman Keith Randolph Jr. is a stout run defender who is consistently shedding blocks and getting into the backfield. Randolph Jr. is first on the team in total tackles (17) and tackles for loss (4). 

The Fighting Illini secondary has plenty of athletic players. Junior defensive back Devon Witherspoon is explosive and aggressive on the outside while being a reliable tackler. Witherspoon is instinctive in both the run and pass game. He's tied for second on the team in total tackles (15) while being first in pass deflections (6). The Florida native has also snagged an interception.

Why Chattanooga can cover

Senior quarterback Preston Hutchinson is the signal caller Chattanooga. He transferred from Eastern Michigan and he looks to make an impact for the Mocs. Through three games, Hutchinson looks calm and poised from the pocket. The Ohio native is completing 65% of his throws for 752 yards along with five passing touchdowns. Last week, he went 22-of-31 for 303 yards and three passing touchdowns.

Freshman receiver Sam Phillips provides the Mocs with a smooth deep threat who owns the speed to break away from defenders. Phillips isn't the tallest weapon (5-foot-8) but he knows how to separate and get open. He's currently leading the team in receiving yards (146) while recording 18.3 yards per reception. In his last outing, Phillips secured five passes for 96 yards. 

How to make Chattanooga vs. Illinois picks

For Illinois vs. Chattanooga, Roberts is leaning Over on the point total, but he also says a critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is, and which side of the Chattanooga vs. Illinois spread to back, at SportsLine.

So who wins Chattanooga vs. Illinois? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Chattanooga vs. Illinois spread you need to jump on Thursday, all from the expert that has crushed his college football picks, and find out.