College Basketball Prediction, Odds for Rutgers vs Illinois (Sunday, Jan. 21)

College Basketball Prediction, Odds for Rutgers vs Illinois (Sunday, Jan. 21) article feature image

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images). Pictured: Coleman Hawkins.

Rutgers vs Illinois Odds

Sunday, Jan 21
1:00pm ET
Rutgers Odds
-110o / -110u
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Terrance Shannon Jr is now back despite yesterday’s comments made by Illinois head coach Brad Underwood alluding to the the possibility of Shannon remaining out Sunday because of his legal situation off the court. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will head to Champaign, Illinois, after a comeback victory against Nebraska.

The Scarlet Knights' offense looked the best it has all season in that win, so Steve Pikiell's team may start to click moving forward. The Fighting Illini, meanwhile, had an impressive win at Michigan and deservedly are big favorites at home.

Let's break down these two teams below to uncover the correct betting angle for Rutgers vs. Illinois.

Check out our College Basketball Betting Hub for more NCAAB previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Despite their 87-point performance, the Scarlet Knights will have a tall task against the Fighting Illini defense. They enter the contest ranked 349th in Effective FG% and 241st in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.

The path to victory for Pikiell's team is on the defensive side of the floor. They are sixth in defensive efficiency, which is massive against a tough Illinois offense. The Fighting Illini are great at scoring inside the arc, but that is the Scarlet Knight's specialty on defense. They are top 10 in the nation in defensive 2PT%. The Scarlet Knights are average defensively on the perimeter, but without Shannon, the Fighting Illini are not as lethal beyond the arc.

The spread is significant for a reason, and I assume many public bettors are happy to take the double-digit 'dog off a huge win. If you back the Scarlet Knights, just be prepared to shield your eyes while they are on offense.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

I was impressed with the Fighting Illini on Thursday evening because it was not the best situational spot for them. Their offense did not miss a beat and helped us cash the best bet for the day.

Illinois enters the game sixth in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and top 30 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. The Fighting Illini are the 11th-best team in the nation, according to KenPom.

Off a big road win, I expect them to continue to roll at home. Their offense will completely outclass the Scarlet Knights, but they need to be careful.

The Fighting Illini offense may go through a few droughts in the game. Forward Coleman Hawkins is the focal point of their offense in the absence of Shannon, and he provides a ton of spacing on that side of the floor.

They will face a challenge scoring inside, but the lack of offensive success from the Scarlet Knights will be more than enough to win the game. The pace will be much slower than a typical Illinois game.

Rutgers vs. Illinois

Betting Pick & Prediction

I lean toward the Fighting Illini, but the best play to make is the under. After an offensive explosion against Nebraska, I have a tough time envisioning Rutgers replicating that performance.

I would not be surprised to see a big win from Illinois, but if the game is a blowout, it will bleed the clock out in the second half. Let's hope for an ugly game in Champaign.

Pick: Under 143 (Play to 141.5)

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Daniel Preciado
Jun 25, 2024 UTC