The Fighting Illini sit atop the Big Ten with an 11-3 conference record, but they’ve got a tough task ahead of them on the road in the February 16th Illinois at Rutgers betting matchup. The Scarlet Knights are just 9-5 in conference play, but they are also 12-2 at home this season.
Illinois is up to #12 in the country, so they do have some value as -4 point favorites on Wednesday night. The Illini have also won five of their last six, with the lone loss coming at then #3 Purdue last week. Rutgers has won four of five though, and proved they can do it not just at home following a 73-65 win at Wisconsin over the weekend as +8 point underdogs. The Badgers are now 10-3 at home this season.
Illini Try to Take Care of Business
Illinois is atop the Big Ten at 11-3, but they’ve got a whole lot of company with 11-4 Purdue and 11-4 Wisconsin wading in the water and 9-4 Ohio State not too far behind. The Illini have a tough visit to Michigan State coming up this weekend so having a game in hand would be huge on the road in East Lansing.
Illinois has looked good lately outside of an 84-68 loss at Purdue on February 8th. The Illini have a 13-point win over Wisconsin this month as well as a 17-point victory in Indiana and also beating Northwestern 73-68 on Sunday in a game that was 44-30 Illinois at the half. The Illini have also beaten Rutgers 86-51 in Champaign way back in the conference opener for both teams in early December.
Whenever you match up with Illinois the biggest concern is stopping 7′ 285 pound big man Kofi Cockburn. The Scarlet Knights held the player of the year candidate to just 13 points in their first meeting, but he also grabbed 15 rebounds. Alfonso Plummer did most of the damage in that game with 24 points, and he put up 19 in the win over Northwestern on Sunday. Cockburn had 19/15 vs. the Wildcats as well.
Just Another Upset for Rutgers?
Brad Underwood brings his team to Piscataway in the February 16th Illinois at Rutgers betting matchup as the #12 team in the nation, but don’t be surprised if the Scarlet Knights are not intimidated. These two teams have split the last four meetings, but Rutgers is also on a three game win streak with victories over #13 Michigan Staet (84-63), #16 Ohio State (66-64), and #14 Wisconsin 73-65.
The Scarlet Knights do have some concerns after their 35-point loss to Illinois earlier this season, but Rutgers has also shown great improvement going 11-5 since then. Rutgers is not invincible at home as shown by their 68-60 loss to Maryland on January 25th, but they are close to it going 6-1 ATS their last 7 at Jersey Mike’s Arena.
Free February 16th Illinois at Rutgers Betting Pick
Rutgers is a deep squad, which gives them tremendous value getting +4 points on Wednesday. Six players scored at least 11 points in the win over Michigan State a couple weekends ago, while Geo Baker averaged 23 points in the wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin to garner Big Ten player of the week honors. Patrick Mulcahey (18) and Ron Harper, Jr. (21) were also huge against the Badgers.
If you can find Rutgers getting points at home, you take it – regardless of the opponent.
Rutgers 74 – Illinois 68
Free Pick: Rutgers +4