The Fighting Illini (14-5) may have a little extra bite in them for the January 27th Indiana at Illinois betting matchup following their 96-91 loss to in-state rival Northwestern on Wednesday night in Evanston. Oddsmakers sure think so, making Brad Underwood’s club a -13.5 favorite on Saturday (3:00 PM ET, FOX) in Champaign.
The Hoosiers (12-7) are hoping Illinois is a bit deflated after the loss to the Wildcats or simply looks past them in this matchup. That would be easy to do considering Indiana has lost their last two games by an average of 16.5 ppg. 69% of the betting public is still giving the points even though it’s over a dozen for the home squad.
Why Indiana Has Value at +13.5
That’s a lot of points (+13.5) for a rivalry game, especially considering Indiana has won three straight in the head-to-head series including an 80-65 blowout in Champaign last January. The Hoosiers have been blown out in two straight games by 21 and 12 points, but that was against Purdue and Wisconsin who are the top two teams in the Big Ten.
Even though Illinois sits in 3rd in the Big Ten, Indiana should still benefit from playing the Boilermakers and Badgers the last two games. Their game against Wisconsin was last Friday so this team is well rested for the conference road battle.
One thing Illinois is very susceptible to is great point guard play as evidenced by Northwestern’s Boo Buie dropping 31 points on Wednesday night. This could be a great opportunity for Indiana to get Xavier Johnson going, as he’s the lone Hoosiers starting not averaging double figures in points (7.8).
Why Illinois Has Value at -13.5
There’s not many games in the Big Ten where you’re going to score 91 points and lose so it wasn’t a bad offensive performance from the Fighting Illini last time out. Coleman Hawkins and Marcus Domask each had 22 for Illinois, and Hawkins has a 20 point double-double in two of his last three games.
There are some obvious defensive concerns for Illinois after Northwestern hit 55% of their field goals on Wednesday including 61% of their three pointers. The Hoosiers also are 4th worst in the Big Ten on not only offense (74.2) but defense as well (74.3).
Illinois has scored 86+ points in three straight games, and that’s without Terrence Shannon, Jr. really getting going. The Fighting Illini’s leading scorer (20.5 ppg) was suspended indefinitely following sexual assault charges, but was reinstated thanks to a judges injunction. Shannon had 16 points vs. Rutgers in his return but just 12 vs. Northwestern last time out.
Free January 27th Indiana at Illinois Betting Pick
Illinois will probably win this game, and a 7-8 point victory would be considered a solid performance to snap this current losing streak against the Hoosiers. To bank on a double-digit win is just negligent however.
Free Pick: Indiana +13.5