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Tonight’s free college football pick (Illinois at Wisconsin)

I’m gonna get a little creative with this pick to start the Big Ten season.

Illinois is +20.5 at Wisconsin, up a point from 19.5 from earlier in the week. The move by a point to +20.5 is nice because you can get some good return if you’re willing to pay a minimal price.

You can buy half a point to get the line to +21 for -120. But you certainly don’t want a tie on that round number.

So, buy a full point to move the line to +21.5 at only -127. A $100 play would pay you $79.

Illinois sprung a big upset last year with a 24-23 win over Wisconsin. You just know the Badgers will be out for revenge and should win handily.

But will they win by more than three touchdowns? The Badgers have to replace sensational running back Jonathan Taylor, plus starting QB Jack Coan is out with a foot injury.

Yes, Wisconsin will still have a strong running game. It always does. And the Badgers have a ton of talent back on defense.

But Wisconsin might need some time to get the offense going, and I expect the Illini to at least avoid getting embarrassed.

The pick: Buy Illinois up to +21.5

Last week: Went 2-0 (BYU moneyline and Alabama -4.5)

Season record: 4-1-1

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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