College Basketball Odds, Picks | Illinois vs Nebraska Betting Preview
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Sencire Harris (Illinois)
- Illinois hits the road to face Nebraska in a Big Ten Tuesday night tilt.
- The Illini have lost two of their last four games, but beat a Tyler Wahl-less Wisconsin team in their most recent outing.
- D.J. James dives into this matchup and explains why the value lies on the total.
Illinois vs. Nebraska Odds
-120o / -102u
-120o / -102u
The Illinois Fighting Illini had an eventful week — to say the least. They lost their third Big Ten game in a row and won a must-win home game against a Tyler Wahl-less Wisconsin Badgers.
Also, Skyy Clark notified the team that he is stepping away to tend to personal matters.
Illinois is finally in the win column in Big Ten play and travels to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska plays pretty well on its home court. The Huskers have defeated Creighton and Iowa and nearly beat Purdue.
Illinois is a little too up-and-down to back on the spread here, but the Fighting Illini should be able to push the pace in this one.
Given the abilities of each team on the offensive glass and issues with guarding the perimeter, this game should go over the total.
Illinois is an enigma this season. It has wins over Wisconsin, Texas, Syracuse and UCLA, but it lost by double digits to Northwestern, Missouri and Penn State.
One of the Illini’s glaring issues has been taking care of the basketball. They rank 294th in turnover rate, with Dain Dainja, RJ Melendez, Coleman Hawkins and Ty Rodgers all eclipsing 20%.
However, the Illini only turned it over 10 times to Wisconsin’s nine on Saturday, so this is notable improvement.
To Illinois’ benefit, Nebraska is only turning opponents over 18.4% of the time. The Illini could still continue to have some woes on the road, though.
Offensively, the Illini fire a ton of 3s. They are shooting 33.6% from deep, with Terrence Shannon Jr. improving to nearly 35%. Matthew Mayer and Jayden Epps are around 37%, and Sencire Harris is around 36%.
Hawkins did hit six 3s against Wisconsin, so he has the propensity to get hot at any moment.
Nebraska is allowing opponents to shoot 32.4% from outside, so the Illini will exploit this issue, considering they manufacture over 35% of their points from deep.
Building off of that, Illinois is even more efficient inside the arc, shooting 56.6%. Nebraska is permitting a 2-point field goal percentage of 48.2%, so the Illini should have opportunities on the interior.
Photo By CBB Analytics
Nebraska does not foul defensively, so the charity stripe is one area the Illini are unlikely to score from. Illinois ranks 120th in free-throw attempt percentage, anyways, so look for it to exploit Nebraska with field goals instead.
Now, the Cornhuskers have a couple players who hoist plenty of 3s: C.J. Wilcher and Keisei Tominaga. Each is shooting over 32.5%, while Illinois is permitting a similar 3-point percentage of 32.5% defensively.
These two should get some open looks and should knock them down.
— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) January 7, 2023
Nebraska does get 57.4% of its points from 2-point range. This may be one area of concern because Illinois is holding opponents to 42.6% inside on 2-pointers.
However, Northwestern drew fouls relatively often and shot 40 free throws just last week on the Illini. If the ball is inside, Nebraska should get some free-throw opportunities.
Lastly, Illinois ranks 38th in offensive rebounding percentage while the Cornhuskers rank 106th.
Defensively, Illinois ranks 112th in rebounding while Nebraska ranks 171st.
Look for each team to commonly find second scoring chances on offense.
Illinois vs. Nebraska Betting Pick
Illinois may hold Nebraska in check inside the paint, but it’s a sloppy team. The Illini will foul the Cornhuskers, and Nebraska should get some open looks beyond the arc.
Illinois, on the other hand, should score at will and likely will not draw as much contact. Given each team’s ability to haul in offensive boards, this game should go over the total.
Illinois runs at the 58th-ranked Adjusted Tempo (per KenPom), so it should control the pace with its offense.
Take this from 135.5 (-110), and play it to 138 (-110).
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