Illinois vs Maryland Odds, Picks | Big Ten NCAAB Betting Preview

Illinois vs Maryland Odds, Picks | Big Ten NCAAB Betting Preview article feature image

Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Donta Scott (Maryland)

  • Illinois and Maryland go head-to-head in College Park for a battle between two top-25 teams.
  • This matchup kicks off Big Ten play for both schools, and the Terps have over-exceeded expectations so far this season under Kevin Willard.
  • Here's how Charlie is betting this clash.

Illinois vs. Maryland Odds

Friday, Dec. 2
9 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Maryland Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Big Ten league play opens up on Friday night with a top-25 heavyweight matchup between No. 16 Illinois and No. 22 Maryland.

College Park is going to be bumping, as the Terps look to remain undefeated in their toughest test yet. They have dismantled every team in their opening seven games, winning by 15 or more points every time.

A revamped Illinois roster is also an impressive 6-1 and enters fresh off a 29-point bludgeoning of Syracuse. The Illini have a win against UCLA under their belt, too.

Defense has been Illinois' calling card, while offensive efficiency has ironically become Maryland's strongest attribute in the early going of the 2022-23 season.

Can Kevin Willard secure his biggest win of the season against Illinois, or will the Fighting Illini continue to roll in their first true road game of the year?

Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois continued its strong start to the new campaign with a beatdown of Syracuse on Tuesday. But I personally believe that was more telling of the inabilities of Jim Boeheim and less of Illinois’ excellence.

The Fighting Illini shot just 28% from 3 and under 50% on 2-point attempts, yet finished with 73 points. Their defensive pressure did lead to plenty of Syracuse mistakes — Judah Mintz was useless after his posterizing dunk — and the Orange look outclassed by a top-25 team.

Coleman Hawkins finished with a triple double and remains the anchor on the defensive end. He broke down the 2-3 zone with ease, and that led to plenty of opportunities for Terrence Shannon Jr. (15 3PA). The duo paced the way with 32 combined points. 

This upcoming game with Maryland could be the hardest test for Illinois, despite its previous games against UCLA and Virginia. This is the Illini's first true road game against a red-hot Terps team that enters 7-0 and owns an efficient offense and a dominant defense. 

It's worth noting that while Illinois managed to limit its turnovers against Syracuse, it's 258th in turnover rate and remains troubled at the free-throw line (65%). 

Unlike recent years, Brad Underwood’s squad loves to run-and-gun. Expect a 3-point barrage from this team — 48% of all of Illinois' field goals are from beyond the arc — as it ranks 86th with a 35.9% clip.

Even with the up-tempo offense, Illinois is efficient and creates open looks. The Illini are 16th in eFG% and 11th in 2-point offense, too. Defensively, they’re 11th in eFG% and top-10 in 2-point defense. 

A lot of that has to do with their length on the inside led by Hawkins. But Dain Dainja is a huge body down low and extremely effective around the rim — he’s 55th in block rate. We’ve seen the likes of RJ Melendez and Shannon step up on the defensive end, too. 

Sencire Harris left Tuesday’s game against Syracuse with an injury and is questionable against Maryland. He did practice on Wednesday. 

Illinois’ rotation can go 8-to-9 players deep, and all provide a different strength that has led to this early success.

The must-have app for college basketball bettors

The best NCAAB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Maryland Terrapins

Through seven games, year one of the Willard era has been nothing short of a success. Maryland looks re-energized and has dismantled every team it's faced in the process. 

And it’s not like those wins have come against lesser teams.

The Terps took down Saint Louis in a 28-point rout and blew out Miami (FL) by 18. Both teams are inside the KenPom top-50 and are likely NCAA tournament squads. 

The departures of Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell have actually benefitted Maryland. They were both high-usage players — Russell took 26.5% of shots and Ayala took 27.3% when on the floor — but largely ineffective. 

Jahmir Young (Charlotte) transferred to take over lead duties, and the offensive efficiency has drastically improved. The Terps are 17th in Adjusted Efficiency (per KenPom) and are the eighth-ranked offense on 2-point attempts. 

They still struggle with the 3 ball, but have seen improvements to both their turnover rate and offensive rebounding.

Senior Donta Scott has seen his 3-point shot revert back to 2021, when he shot 44% from beyond the arc. He leads the team in scoring (15.9 PPG) and is an efficient rebounder, alongside his frontcourt counterpart Julian Reese. 

Reese’s sophomore year leap has provided a boost, too. The 6-foot-9 big ranks inside the top 10 in eFG% and is 30th in offensive rebounding rate. He’s fast, athletic and strong. He also draws fouls at a high rate. 

Reese is the epitome of Maryland’s squad. The Terps are explosive and love to push tempo. They're also efficient on both sides of the floor and don’t make many mistakes. 

Four players on the Terps average 13 or more points per game, as well as 4.9+ rebounds. This is a deep squad that’s 15th in Division I experience. 

Defensively, Maryland is 20th in eFG% and defends the 3 ball at a top-25 rate.

While they’re about average in turnover rate, the Terps are disciplined. Willard has brought that defensive intensity over from Seton Hall, and it has worked thus far in non-conference play. 

Illinois vs. Maryland Betting Pick

I am going to continue to ride this Maryland team that has been a freight train to begin the 2022-23 season.

Illinois has been nothing short of impressive, but in its first true road game of the season, I like Maryland's chances. The Fighting Illini have glaring turnover issues and against an athletic team like Maryland, it could lead to disaster in transition.

Maryland also has the height and defensive intensity to match Illinois. The Fighting Illini get most of their points from beyond the arc, but that's where the Terps are best (25th in country).

We saw some cracks in Illinois' game against Syracuse — it was a seven-point game at halftime despite the Orange finishing the final 4:55 scoreless. That won't happen to a team like Maryland.

The Terps' offense is in stride, and I expect another strong performance — both on the glass and around the rim.  Expect them to ride a rocking home crowd en route to a huge win to begin Big Ten play.

Pick: Maryland -1.5 (Play to -3)

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.