Is there a blowout coming in the February 13th Northwestern at Illinois betting matchup? Oddsmakers would seem to think so with the Fighting Illini a -10 point favorite, but Brad Underwood’s squad struggled to a 59-58 win over Northwestern in Evanston at the end of January. Illinois is also coming off an 84-68 throttling in Purdue on Tuesday.
Northwestern has also put together three straight wins since the loss to Illinois, most recently topping Indiana 59-51 at home on Tuesday to cover the -2.5 spread. The Fighting Illini have won seven straight in the head to head series, but they have usually been close games with six of them being decided by 8 points or less.
Northwestern Needs to Stop Cockburn
It’s no secret what Chris Collins’ #1 mission is in the February 13th Northwestern at Illinois betting matchup and that’s to stop Kofi Cockburn. The Fighting Illini 7-footer had 22 points and 9 rebounds in the first meeting, the obvious difference maker as the only Illinois player to score in double figures.
To his credit, Northwestern’s Pete Nance went toe to toe with Cockburn in the first game this season putting up 21 points helped by 3-5 shooting from three point range. Nance is 6’10” as is center Ryan Young so the Wildcats do have some size to contend with the force that is Cockburn (7′, 285 pounds) on the interior. Cockburn also averaged 17.5 points and 11 rebounds in the two meetings last season.
Northwestern has the #8 defense in the Big Ten but they’ve been playing much better than that lately. The Wildcats held Indiana to 51 points on Tuesday and ran away with a 33-21 second half advantage. It was the third time in the last four games that Northwestern held an opponent to 65 points or less but Illinois also has the #3 scoring offense in the Big Ten (76.7).
Illinois Blowout Seems Unlikely
The Fighting Illini are -10 point favorites on Sunday and it’s true they may come out angry after suffering a 16-point loss at Purdue on Tuesday. Purdue blew the doors open with a 48-30 second half advantage that snapped Illinois’ four game win streak.
Illinois still sits atop the Big Ten at 10-3 though, and they do have the 7-game win streak over Northwestern on their side. The Fighting Illini are also 10-2 at home this season and have double digit conference wins over Rutgers (86-51), Minnesota (76-53), Maryland (76-64), Nebraska (81-71), Michigan (68-53), Wisconsin (80-67), and Indiana (74-57).
Cockburn has been a force vs. Northwestern over the past couple years and he was dominant against Wisconsin with 37 points and 12 rebounds on February 2nd. Illinois survived a scare when Trent Frazier (12.8 ppg) went down vs. Purdue with an apparent knee injury but he was able to return and is not on Sunday’s injury report. To cover the -10, Illinois will need a big day from Alfonso Plummer who has been held under his 15.2 ppg average in five straight.
Free February 13th Northwestern at Illinois Betting Pick
Illinois is easily the better team here and has shown the capability to blow out conference opponents at times this season. Northwestern is also a hard team to beat by double digits though because they run a slow methodical pace. The Wildcats also seem to ‘get up’ for the in-state game against Illinois and have largely kept games with the Illini close even though they’ve dropped 7 straight.
Illinois 68 – Northwestern 60
Pick: Northwestern +10