No. 15 Illinois is still in the race for the Big Ten regular-season title but also can’t afford any more slip-ups if it wants to maintain its strong resume for a high NCAA seed.
The Illini, who are 19-7 overall and 12-4 in Big Ten play, have split their last four games, including a head-scratching loss to Rutgers on the road.
No. 22 Ohio State also wants to strengthen its profile by collecting a true-road win, something the Buckeyes haven’t been great at this season.
The Buckeyes are 4-5 on the road this season. Top sportsbooks have Illinois as a six-point favorite. The over/under is set at 139.5 points.
It looks like we are in for a close and exciting match!
Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Preview
Freshman Malaki Branham scored a game-high 27 points in Ohio State’s last game to help survive an overtime victory over Indiana. Branham, who has scored 20 or more points four times this season, averages 11.8 points per game. Branham’s emergence has helped Ohio State into a diverse attack which was led by EJ Liddell, who is fourth in the conference by averaging 19.5 points per game.
Ohio State’s shooting has been excellent all season. The Buckeyes shoot 47.9 percent from the field, which ranks 25th nationally, and 37.4 percent from the 3-point line, which ranks 31st nationally.
Ohio State averages 8.2 made treys per game and have made ten or more 3-pointers in 11 games this season. The Buckeyes are coming off a three-game homestand and did win their last road game, 68-57, Feb. 12 at Michigan.
Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Preview
Illinois forward Kofi Cockburn averages 21.7 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, becoming the first Big Ten player since 1992-93 to average more than 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. Alfonso Plummer (14.7 points per game), Trent Frazier (12.4), and Jacob Grandison (10.5) all average in double-figure scoring for the Illini.
Illinois averaged 76 points per game, which ranks 58th nationally. Illinois is 13-0 this season when it shoots 45 percent or better.
The Illini have limited its opponents to 5.4 made 3-pointers per contest and 32 percent shooting from the perimeter. Illinois has won 10 of its last 14 games against ranked opponents. The Illini have also been excellent at home in Big Ten play, winning 11 of its last 12 conference games at home.
Ohio State at Illinois Betting Prediction
Illinois has been inconsistent this season, but this is a good spot for the Illini. Ohio State hasn’t played well on the road and are reliant on the 3-point shot. Illinois has the pieces in place to slow down the Buckeyes.
Expect the Illini to extend Ohio State’s misery away from Columbus and hand the Buckeyes another road loss.
The Illini should win the game to stay in the Big Ten regular-season race for a regular-season championship. Illinois, however, will miss out on covering the spread and win by four to six points.
Betting Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes +6.00 points
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