It’s the Big Ten which means there are no off nights no matter where you suit up in conference play. There’s perhaps no better example of that than the Minnesota at Illinois basketball free pick where the Fighting Illini – fresh off two impressive road wins – are just 5 point favorites on Thursday.
Minnesota has been very good this year, but not so much on the road. The Orange Krush are going to be jacked up for this game as Illinois has moved into 1st in the Big 10, are the Golden Gophers about to be overwhelmed?
Has Minnesota Put Their Road Struggles Behind Them?
For awhile there, it wasn’t about who Minnesota played, but where they tipped off at that would determine the winner. Richard Pitino’s team has so far gone 9-2 at home looking like contenders – but then just 1-6 on the road. The good news for the Gophers is that their lone away win happened a week ago at Ohio State, a 62-59 victory as +8.5 underdogs.
Make no mistake, the jury is still out heading into the Minnesota at Illinois basketball free pick on whether the Golden Gophers have truly tackled their away demons. This is a team that has lost by 20 at Iowa, 16 at Michigan State, and 8 at Rutgers over the last 5 away games. Of course there’s a win in Columbus as well as taking Purdue to OT at Mackey Arena mixed in there.
Does 5 points seem like too few in the Minnesota at Illinois basketball prediction? The Fighting Illini are rolling with six straight wins but also have a big visit to Iowa looming on Super Bowl Sunday. The Gophers do match up well down low as Daniel Oturu all but cancels out the production of Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn. It’s the role players and the home court that gives Illinois a huge edge though.
Illini Have to Hit a Wall Eventually, Right?
Illinois has pretty much answered every test thrown their way lately, and they’ve been impressive challenges at that. During the Illini’s current 6-game winning streak they’ve beaten Purdue by 26 in Champaign, have their first victory in Madison in a decade, and have Big Ten road wins at West Lafayette (IN) and Ann Arbor as underdogs.
Of course the Illini are at home in the Minnesota at Illinois free basketball pick which also gives them an edge. Ayo Dosunmu hit the big game winner vs. Michigan on Saturday to ultimately end up with 27 points. He’s by far the only threat for Brad Underwood’s team as Kofi Cockburn is already a 7X conference freshman of the week with a 13.5/9 average over the past 7 days.
Minnesota at Illinois Basketball Free Pick
The Illini would seem to be the play in this one. Minnesota has been better as of late, but they are a big liability on the road. Illinois could be looking ahead to a visit to Iowa on Sunday, but they take care of business here. The Gophers on the road just cannot pull it off in this one.
Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini -5