Nebraska vs Illinois Odds, Picks: Why to Target the Under

Nebraska vs Illinois Odds, Picks: Why to Target the Under article feature image

Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Terrence Shannon Jr.

Nebraska vs Illinois Odds

Tuesday, Jan. 31
7 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Nebraska Odds
-110o / -110u
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Illinois Fighting Illini have now won six of their last seven games and will host the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Tuesday night.

The Illini have thrived on the defensive end, ranking 18th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom, and forcing opponents into poor shots. However, they do run at the 77th-quickest Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom.

Nebraska ranks 257th in Adjusted Tempo, and even though the Cornhuskers only have three Big Ten wins, they have the 56th-ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

Illinois is 12-8 to the under while Nebraska is 16-6. Even though Nebraska is now without Emmanuel Bandoumel, Juwan Gary and Blaise Keita, it may be able to hold the Illini offense in check slightly. The Illini should do the same to Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers are obviously dealing with a litany of critical injuries at the moment. Should we continue to play into both teams' unders trend on Tuesday night?

Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Cornhuskers rank fifth in the country defensively in Shot Selection, per Shot Quality. They also rank 45th in Open Three Rate and 43rd in Rim and Three Rate. The Illini may be shooting 32.5% from deep, but they rank 53rd in the country in 3-point attempt percentage.

Rim and Three Rate matters in these circumstances because the Illini are shooting 55.3% on 2-pointers this season. They also rank 49th in the country, per Shot Quality, in attacking the rim and getting out in transition. Since Nebraska tends to slow the game down to its pace, it should be able to limit how often the Fighting Illini get clear lanes to the hoop.

CBB Analytics

Derrick Walker is going to be the crux of Nebraska’s defense going forward because Wilhelm Breidenbach is a bit slow when defending the dribble. Walker is essentially the last line of defense left down low for Fred Hoiberg and the Cornhuskers. He will be tasked with defending Dain Dainja and Coleman Hawkins (at times), and these two play major roles in the offensive attack for the Illini.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois ranks 31st in PPP in transition and loves to push the pace, particularly with Terrance Shannon, Jr. Shannon has 139 free throw attempts this season and will draw contact on the drive. How often he is able to push the ball down floor and draw contact from Nebraska’s bigs will tell us how this game plays out.

Nebraska ranks eighth in the country in free throw attempt percentage defensively, and Illinois only shoots 66.2% as a team. Shannon shoots 78.4% from the stripe, but the Illini are otherwise relatively weak from the line. Unless Walker is doing the fouling, Nebraska should be in OK shape.

Nebraska ranks 329th in seconds per possession on defense. More often than not, even after a turnover, Nebraska can slow Illinois down.

How often both of these teams turn the ball over will go a long way toward deciding the total. Illinois ranks 221st in turnover percentage (19.1%), and Nebraska ranks 237th (19.2%). Illinois turns opponents over defensively 20% of the time, but Nebraska only does so 18% of the time.

If there are turnovers, Illinois will be forcing them and Nebraska should be able to catch up to the Illini and force a longer, half-court possession.

Nebraska vs. Illinois Betting Pick

The market has not caught up to either of these programs, and their ATS records show on totals.

Last time out, these teams scored 126 combined points. Granted, Bandoumel and Gary (partially) were playing, but they played at Nebraska’s standard pace.

Take an under in this game to 134.5.

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Nick Sterling
Jun 22, 2024 UTC