Illinois has a nice win over then #2 Texas 85-78 in early December, but since then they’ve failed every test they’ve had – and not just slightly. That recent Illini resume includes a 74-59 home loss to Penn State, falling 93-72 to Missouri in the annual Braggin’ Rights game, and most recently falling 73-60 at Northwestern on Wednesday. It’s somewhat shocking the home team is still a -6.5 favorite in Saturday’s Wisconsin at Illinois betting matchup.
UW comes into Saturday’s tilt on a six game win streak that has gotten them up to #14 in the country. The Badgers struggled on Tuesday in a 63-60 win over last place Minnesota, but may have been caught looking ahead to Saturday’s game as they try to snap a 4-game losing streak against the Illini. 61% of the betting public like the Badgers and the points.
Wisconsin Finding a Way
The Badgers (11-2) have pulled off some close wins this season, but they are also just four points away from being 13-0 on the year. It’s been a somewhat surprising start to the season for Wisconsin considering they’ve had to replace 20.0 ppg from NBA 1st round draft pick Johnny Davis, and valuable experience from 5th year starting PG Brad Davison.
The Badgers have found a lot of different production this season but mostly from the top returning scorer from last year’s team, Tyler Wahl who is averaging 13.6 ppg. Wahl went down with an ankle injury on Tuesday playing just 9 minutes, but Steven Crowl stepped up with 17 and Chucky Hepburn added 16.
Wahl is questionable for the Wisconsin at Illinois betting matchup, so it remains to be seen if the Badgers can sustain the tenacity they showed earlier against then #3 Kansas falling 69-68 in OT. UW’s only other loss this year was 78-75 at home against Wake Forest as a -6 point favorite.
Illinois Very Dysfunctional Right Now
The Fighting Illini have a solid resume already this year with a win over then #8 UCLA and topping the #2 Longhorns. They’ve also gone 0-3 so far in the Big Ten though, falling at Maryland 71-66 in addition to the losses to Penn State and Wisconsin.
The loss to the Wildcats this week was dumbfounding, as Illinois held Northwestern to 17-53 shooting (32%). The Illini outrebounded the Wildcats as well, but also committed 15 turnovers and sent Northwestern to the free throw line 40 times in a very sloppy game from Illinois. After the game former 4-star recruit Skyy Clark decided to step away from the Illini program for personal reasons.
Illinois looked flat against Northwestern, but maybe getting back home where they are 7-1 on the season will provide a boost. Wisconsin also has the #20 adjusted defense in the nation though so they can frustrate an opponent.
Free Wisconsin at Illinois Betting Pick
Illinois is 7-1 at home this year, but that loss was a B10 game against Penn State so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Badgers did indeed pull this game off outright (+270). That being said when you can get +6.5 points in a game that looks like it should be close you take it.
Free Pick: Wisconsin +6.5