Heading into the February 18th Illinois at Penn State betting pick, the Nittany Lions look like a solid wager as -6 point home favorites. PSU has gone 13-1 at the Bryce Jordan Center this season as they’ve climbed into a #9 ranking and a game off 1st place Maryland in the Big 10.
Then again, Illinois should be hungry after falling out of the top 25 after suffering four straight losses. Those defeats were four very tough games though and three were by single digits. Illinois would get a huge boost on Tuesday if leading scorer Ayo Dosunmu can return from an ankle injury.
Another Tough Test for Illinois
It’s been quite the gauntlet for Brad Underwood’s team as they come into the February 18th Illinois at Penn State betting pick riding a 4-game losing streak. Those defeats have come at Iowa, vs. Maryland, vs. Michigan State, and at Rutgers where the Scarlet Knights are undefeated on the season.
Things don’t get any easier for the Illini on Tuesday however as Penn State is riding an 8-game win streak overall and has just one loss on their home floor this season.
The Fighting Illini need to find the game play that had them on a 7-game win streak prior to this losing stretch. Each of the defeats have been winnable though, even the 15 point loss to Rutgers on Saturday was close until the Illini went absolutely ice cold late in the 2nd half shooting 26 percent.
Dosunmu is still day-to-day with his ankle injury and Illinois’ offense felt his absence on Saturday in scoring just 57 points. 7-footer Kofi Cockburn is still a presence in the middle, but he’s also looked a bit fatigued lately with just 6, 9, 11, and 10 points during the Illinois losing streak. Penn State’s defense does allow 67 ppg however and the total in this one is up 4 points from the open to 142.
Penn State Rolling
The Nittany Lions have a great chance of notching their 9th straight win on Tuesday. It’s already the longest win streak PSU has endured since joining the conference in 1993 and a win would also mark the 7th in a row for the Nittany Lions over Illinois.
It’s been the Penn State offense that is clicking lately as they have put up 75+ in five straight games. The Illini defense has also allowed 70+ in their four straight losses so expect a higher scoring game on Tuesday – at least on the Nittany Lions’ side.
Lamar Stevens is averaging 17.7 ppg but has gone for 23+ in 3 of the last 4. Penn State could also be getting their 2nd leading scorer Myreon Jones back as he has missed the last three. That doesn’t bode well for an Illinois team that struggled to find their offensive rhythm with their own potent scorer Dosunmu out of the lineup last game.
February 18th Illinois at Penn State Free Pick
It’s hard to see the Illini staying close in this one. Even if Dosunmu returns, he’s not at full strength. Illinois big man Cockburn looks to be tiring in his freshman campaign and Giorgi Bezhamishvili has also looked sloppy as of late. PSU should end up pulling away late in this one en route to a double digit win margin.
Pick: Penn State Nittany Lions -6