The Fighting Illini have fallen off the pace for 1st place in the Big Ten but are still shooting for a win in the February 27th Illinois at Northwestern betting pick. Brad Underwood’s team is still a game back from a potential #2 seed in the conference tournament and has won two in a row.
Can Northwestern put up a fight as +6 point home underdogs on Thursday? The Wildcats suffered a 26 point home loss to Minnesota on Sunday as just +4 underdogs. Northwestern is also just 1-15 in the conference this season but has played Illinois very pesky the last five.
Illini In a Fight Thursday?
Illinois has rattled off two wins in a row to get things back on track a bit. The streaking Illini had won 7 in a row, then lost 4 straight before scoring wins in Penn State and at home against Nebraska. Getting Ayo Dosunmu back has definitely helped. The sophomore missed the Rutgers game but has posted 24 points and 18 in his two games back.
The Illini should have a major size and depth advantage in the February 27th Illinois at Northwestern betting pick. Northwestern has height, but not the overall size to handle 7’0, 290 pound Kofi Cockburn who has two double-doubles in the last three. Cockburn did have just 12/7 when these two teams met up on January 18th, a 75-71 Illinois win.
Underwood’s team also can go deep. Northwestern’s leading scorer last game was Pete Nance with 11. The Illini had five players score 11 or more in their last outing. That being said, Illinois just simply hasn’t been able to blow out the Wildcats in recent meetings, including the 4 point win this season as -12.5 favorites.
Wildcats To Come Out Scrappy?
Northwestern has long been reduced to the role of spoiler for the 2019/20 season as even an N.I.T. berth has passed the 6-20 Wildcats by months ago. Northwestern has dropped 11 games in a row and 16 of their last 17. After Thursday, the Wildcats go to Nebraska and then finish up with Wisconsin and Penn State.
It doesn’t seem likely that Northwestern will get to the 8-22 record in 2008 that was their previous low and may finish with the same 1 conference win that squad had.
The Wildcats are definitely up against it vs. the Big 10’s top rebounding team, but they also aren’t just going to lie down either. The January 18th game was decided by just 4 points and the biggest margin of victory for Illinois in their current 3 consecutive wins in the series is 5. Even so, it’s hard to overlook that 26 point pounding the Golden Gophers gave Northwestern on their own court on Sunday. The Wildcats have lost 3 of the last 4 by at least 16.
February 27th Illinois at Northwestern Betting Pick
The Wildcats have had a tendency to play Illinois tough as of late, even though they have dropped three straight contests. This is a different Illini team though even despite winning by just 4 points in Champaign last month. That game occured during the doldrums of the season but teams are prepping for March now. Illinois is on a roll and with their talent disparity there’s no reason a 10+ point win isn’t possible.
Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini -6