Tuesday’s college basketball betting action brings the Big Ten Conference clash between the Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois Fighting Illini, so here’s the best betting pick along with all-important betting tips and trends and the latest odds update on BetMGM Sportsbook.
These two schools already met each other in January, and the Fighting Illini were ruthless, thrashing off the Wildcats 81-56 as 6.5-point road favorites. Illinois has owned Northwestern over the last few years, going 5-0 straight up and 3-1-1 ATS in their previous five head-to-head duels.
The Wildcats’ free fall continues
The Northwestern Wildcats (6-12; 3-11 Conf.) are on a horrible 11-game losing streak following a 64-50 defeat at the No. 25 Rutgers Scarlet Knights this past Saturday. It was another poor offensive display by Chris Collins’ boys who shot only 32.7% from the field and dished out just nine assists.
During their awful run, the Wildcats covered the spread only twice along with a push. Still, I have to mention that Northwestern had the toughest strength of schedule in the country, meeting nine ranked teams over its previous 12 outings.
The Wildcats are No. 91 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings and No. 72 in the KenPom rankings. They tally 107.2 points per 100 possessions (89th in the nation) on 44.1% shooting from the field (188th) while yielding 95.4 points in a return (60th) on 43.0% shooting from the field (166th).
The Fighting Illini barely survived Nebraska’s upset bid
The Illinois Fighting Illini (14-5; 10-3 Conf.) are riding a five-game winning streak following a 77-72 overtime victory at the Nebraska Cornhuskers this past Friday. They trailed by six points with just three minutes to go in the second half, but Ayo Dosunmu put on a show to lift his team over Nebraska.
The 6-foot-5 junior guard finished with 31 points on 12-for-23 shooting. Dosunmu racked up Illinois’ last ten points in the regulation, proving he’s one of the best players in college basketball at the moment.
The Fighting Illini entered Week 13 as the No. 5 in the AP Top 25 Poll. They are No. 4 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 5 in the KenPom rankings. Illinois scores 117.8 points per 100 possessions (8th in the nation) on 50.2% shooting from the field (11th) and surrenders 90.7 points in a return (16th) on 40.7% shooting (54th).
- 2-8-1 ATS in the last 11 games overall
- 2-5 ATS in the last seven road contests
- 10-1-1 ATS in the last 12 games against Northwestern
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall
The Fighting Illini opened as 13-point favorites here, and I think they won’t have any problems smashing Northwestern once more. Illinois is just half a game behind the top spot in the Big Ten Conference, so the hosts cannot allow any surprises Tuesday night.
After a narrow win over Nebraska, the Fighting Illini will play at a much higher level in this one on the home court. Ayo Dosunmu will continue to torture his guards, while sophomore big man Kofi Cockburn (17.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG) will be unstoppable in the paint.
In that comfortable victory on January 7, the Fighting Illini overcame a 16-point deficit and won by 25 which tells you enough of how dominant they were.
Pick: Take Illinois -13.0 at -110
The over has hit in four of the last five encounters between Northwestern and Illinois, though just two of those five tilts produced more than 144 points in total. The hosts play at a steady pace of 69.9 possessions per 40 minutes (97th in the nation), while the visitors prefer a slightly faster approach, recording 70.7 possessions per 40 minutes (61st).
Therefore, we shouldn’t see a low-scoring affair even though the Wildcats could struggle offensively. Still, the Fighting Illini could easily surpass an 80-point mark, so I’m backing the under. Illinois to cover is my top pick here.
Pick: Go over 144.0 points at -105