How Illini, Wildcats Have Done At Home For Illinois Sports Betting

How Illini, Wildcats Have Done At Home For Illinois Sports Betting
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The fortunes of Illinois and Northwestern football shifted dramatically in the past couple of seasons and continued to do so in this offseason.

Their backers at Illinois sports betting sites certainly will have noticed.

During the coaching tenures of Tim Beckman, Bill Cubit and Lovie Smith (from 2012-20), the Fighting Illini never won more than six games in a season, nor did they do better than 4-5 in the Big Ten. But Bret Bielema has led a turnaround, going 8-5 in 2022 and, at 5-4, the first winning conference record in Champaign since 2007.

Meanwhile, in-state rival Northwestern went to two Big Ten Championship Games as the West Division champion, in 2018 and 2020. But the past two seasons, the Wildcats went 3-9 in 2021 and 1-11 in 2022 while Illinois was rising.

Worse was to come in Evanston this offseason when longtime coach and NU playing legend Pat Fitzgerald was fired amid reports of a hazing scandal – a story which the Northwestern student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, broke over the summer.

So wondered, where do Northwestern and Illinois rank among Big Ten home teams since 2018? Here are our results.

Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in IL. In partnership with Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or text ILGAMB to 53342. Visit for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Best Big Ten Home Teams To Bet On Since 2018

Rank, Team Home ML Home ATS Avg. Rank
1. Michigan 28-4 (2nd) 19-12-1 (1st) 1.5
2. Ohio State 30-2 (1st) 18-13-1 (3rd) 2.0
T3. Penn State 25-8 (3rd) 17-15-1 (5th) 4.0
T3. Minnesota 21-10 (6th) 18-12-1 (2nd) 4.0
5. Iowa 24-8 (4th) 16-15-1 (7th) 5.5
6. Maryland 15-13 (8th) 15-13 (4th) 6.0
7. Wisconsin 23-8 (5th) 13-18 (T11th) 8.0
8. Illinois 14-16 (11th) 15-14-1 (6th) 8.5
9. Indiana 14-15 (10th) 14-15 (8th) 9.0
10. Purdue 15-15 (9th) 13-17 (10th) 9.5
11. Michigan State 19-12 (7th) 9-20-2 (14th) 10.5
T12. Nebraska 13-18 (12th) 13-18 (T11th) 11.5
T12. Rutgers 7-24 (14th) 14-17 (9th) 11.5
14. Northwestern 12-18 (13th) 11-17-2 (13th) 13.0

Illinois A Surprising Eighth

Those using Illinois betting apps might be surprised at how high Illinois finished on our list.

We used to research each of the 14 Big Ten football programs and how they have done at home since 2018. We ranked each team by how well they have done on the moneyline (or straight-up betting) and how they fared against the point spread (ATS) during that same span. We ranked them No. 1 through No. 14 in each category, then averaged those two numbers to arrive at our final ranking.

The Fighting Illini was 14-16 straight up in all home games over the past five years, ranking No 11 in the conference. But ATS, Illinois was 15-14-1, good for sixth place in the Big Ten. That meant Illinois was eighth overall, above such programs as Purdue, Michigan State and Nebraska.

Entering this season, Illinois has +9500 odds at FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook to win their first B1G title since 2001.

Northwestern At Bottom Of Standings

As for the Wildcats, they did not fare well in our rankings.

Northwestern, despite its bursts of success over the past five years, finished No. 13 in both categories that we used to establish our rankings.

NU was 12-18 (for a .400 winning percentage) against the moneyline at home since 2018. The Wildcats were 23-36 overall (.390) in that span, so their form away from home was almost identical to their success rate at Ryan Field. Only Rutgers (7-24) was worse. The huge homefield advantage that a lot of programs can boast has not held up lately for Northwestern, which has +25000 odds to win the league title for customers using the BetMGM bonus code Illinois.

Against the spread, it has been a similar story over the past five years, with NU going 11-17-2 ATS (also a .400 winning percentage). Among Big Ten teams, only Michigan State (9-20-2 ATS) fared worse in that category.

All that adds up to Northwestern being at the bottom of our rankings among 14 current Big Ten teams (the addition of USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington does not take place until the 2024 season).

As the college football season approaches, keep it right here at for continuing coverage of the college and pro game, as well as the best Illinois sports betting promos available.



Jim Tomlin

Jim Tomlin is a writer and editor for He has been a journalist for 30 years, with experience at publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, Saturday Tradition, Saturday Down South and FanRag.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: