Illinois vs Wisconsin Odds, Picks & Prediction for Saturday’s NCAAB Game

Illinois vs Wisconsin Odds, Picks & Prediction for Saturday’s NCAAB Game article feature image

Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayden Epps

Illinois vs Wisconsin Odds

Saturday, Jan. 28
3 p.m. ET
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Wisconsin Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Illinois heads on the road to Madison on Saturday for an important Big Ten showdown with Wisconsin.

Illinois is seemingly starting to find its stride, winning five of its last six games to get above .500 in conference play. The Fighting Illini are coming off a convincing 69-61 win over Ohio State and have already beaten Wisconsin in Champaign. However, facing a desperate Badgers team that reeling is a difficult spot.

Wisconsin is in trouble. The Badgers have now lost four of their last five games to drop to 4-5 in conference play. Wisconsin is now in danger of potentially not making the tournament if it doesn't turn things around in a hurry, and it starts with a win at home over Illinois on Saturday.

Illinois Fighting Illini

The Fighting Illini offense is designed to take a ton of threes. The problem is they aren't hitting them at a high level right now. Illinois is shooting 32.6% from behind the arc, which is a problem since that is where 43% of their field goal attempts are coming from.

With that being said, Illinois is the top team in the Big Ten in 2-point field goal percentage and is third in PPP on shot attempts at the rim. The Illini can also punish you in transition, where they're average 1.44 PPP, which is a top 30 mark in the country. Wisconsin is an elite transition defense, so most of Illinois' work is going to have to be done in the half court.

Illinois, though, has been dominating opponents on the offensive glass, as it is top 35 in offensive rebounding percentage. The last time the Illini faced Wisconsin, the Badgers did an outstanding job keeping them off the glass, limiting them to just seven offensive rebounds.

The real bright spot of this Illinois team though has been the defense. Illinois is currently only allowing 0.94 PPP in the half court, which is the seventh best mark in the country, per ShotQuality.

Brad Underwood's team is really elite at defending almost any shot type an opposing offense can bring.

Conference ranks via Shot Quality

Not only are the Illini elite at defending field goal attempts, they're also a really good defensive rebounding team, ranking second in the Big Ten in defensive rebounding percentage.

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Wisconsin Badgers

It's pretty clear for Wisconsin having Tyler Wahl available is major factor, considering he is being used on 30.2% of its possessions (40th-highest rate in NCAA, per KenPom) and is taking 27.2% of its shots when on the floor.

He did not play in the previous meeting between these two teams and Wisconsin without him on the floor is averaging just 0.93 PPP. The Badgers have also been without their starting shooting guard, Max Klesmit, the past two games. The good news is that he's returned to practice and looks on track to play on Saturday. That is huge because he is one their best perimeter defenders.

"You miss it so much, you just want to be out there to help and put everything you've got into your guys, your team

"There's so much pride behind Wisconsin basketball…You want to do whatever you can to help"

Update on Max Klesmit's status for Saturday

— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) January 27, 2023

The Badgers' offense is designed to play inside-out, as it has the second-highest post-up frequency in the country. However, 41% of their shots come from behind the 3-point line.

The Badgers hardly ever turn the ball over, as they have the second lowest turnover percentage in the country. The problem is they don't crash the offensive boards (343rd in offensive rebounding percentage) and they rarely get to the free-throw line (338th in free-throw rate).

They also do not usually get great looks, ranking 261st in shot selection, per Shot Quality.

Defensively, Wisconsin has been very good, which is a staple of Greg Gard's teams. The Badgers are 38th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, 27th in forcing teams into bad shot selection and 52nd in PPP allowed at the rim.

Wisconsin also has the fourth highest defensive rebounding percentage, which is huge against an Illinois team that is really good at crashing the offensive glass.

Illinois vs Wisconsin Betting Pick

This total is a tad low considering the last meeting, both teams combined for 148 points and the tempo was right at Wisconsin's season average of 69 possessions.

You also combine that with the fact that Wahl didn't play, Illinois wasn't able to get on the offensive glass and Wisconsin shot 27% from behind the arc, and they really actually left quite a few points on the court.

Illinois can get to the rim at an elite level, so should have a path to success offensively, and if the Illini have a good shooting day from behind the arc, these two are going to fly over this total.

I like the value on Over 131.5 point (DraftKings) and would play it up to 133.5 points.

Pick: Over 131.5

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