Betting split update: The betting public at DraftKings Sportsbook is backing underdog Illinois to both cover and win outright. 56 percent of the handle is on Illinois +6 and 56 percent of the handle is on Illinois at +188 on the money line. 76 percent of the handle is on the point total going over 45.5.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are competing in their first bowl game since 2014, while the California Golden Bears are back in the postseason for the second year in a row. The two have plenty to play for in the Redbox Bowl.
Illinois put together a surprisingly fun season under the gray-bearded Lovie Smith, highlighted by the win against Wisconsin in a game the Illini came in as 31-point underdogs. They also upset Michigan State as 15-point dogs on he road. The season ended with a nine-point loss to Iowa, followed by a blowout loss to Northwestern at home, a result that made no sense if you had watched both teams all season.
On the other side, Cal is back in a bowl game after last year’s memorable Cheez-It Bowl in which the Bears lost 10-7 in overtime to TCU in a game featuring nine interceptions. Bowl game weirdness at its finest. This game is being played at Levi Stadium, a virtual home game for the Bears.
Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming
The Redbox Bowl will begin at 4:00 p.m. ET in Santa Clara, California on Monday, Dec. 30 and can be seen on FOX and FOX Sports LIVE.
Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends
Spread: Cal (-6.5) vs. Illinois
Point Total: 43.5 O/U (-110)
Money line: Cal (-245), Illinois (+195)
- Illinois is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven games.
- The total went under in four of Illinois’ last six games.
- The total went under in 15 of Cal’s last 20 games.
The Best Bet
The motivation factor is going to be on the side of Illinois. With a win, this team will be the first Fighting Illini squad to finish over .500 since 2011 when they went 7-6. With a few big wins this season, Illinois knows how to win as an underdog so I’m not just taking them on the spread, but I think they end up winning this one. The Fighting Illini will be your 2019 Redbox Bowl champs.
Pick: Illinois +6.5
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