Michigan State vs. Illinois Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide

Michigan State vs. Illinois Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide article feature image

Pictured: Mady Sissoko #22 of the Michigan State Spartans. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

  • Michigan State and Illinois go head-to-head in a game that has all the making of a typical Big Ten duel.
  • Our expert has broken down the matchup and feels there's value on the total.
  • Continue reading for D.J. James' best bet and analysis.

Michigan State vs. Illinois Odds

Friday, Jan. 13
9 p.m. ET
Michigan State Odds
-110o / -110u
Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Illinois Fighting Illini seem to finally be turning a corner in Big Ten play after hitting a rut and losing their first three conference games. They will play host to the Michigan State Spartans, who only have one loss in conference play.

Illinois has hit the under in nine of 15 games with a total and Michigan State is 8-8, so there is not much of a trend yet.

However, both of these teams hold top-40 Adjusted Defensive Efficiencies, per KenPom. Michigan State is exceptional guarding the arc, while Illinois should be able to turn the Spartans over more than they are used to. The Spartans also rank 294th in Adjusted Tempo versus 60th for the Illini. Illinois has shown it can sometimes play to the tempo of other Big Ten foes, like Nebraska and Northwestern.

Even though Illinois should win this game by a possession or two, the under should be in play.

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State has been impressive. Returning Malik Hall to the floor has helped bolster this team, as he provides a little more size. This will be crucial in this game to match up with Illinois' Coleman Hawkins and Dain Dainja. Mady Sissoko is a great rebounder and blocker, and Joey Hauser can also help on the glass. Michigan State should be able to neutralize Illinois’ size.

Going off of that, the Spartans cannot rebound much offensively (only 28%), but rank 10th in holding opponents to only 22.9% on the offensive boards. Illinois usually hauls in 34.3% of rebounds offensively and only permits 26.7% defensively, so expect only one shot down the floor in most possessions of this game.

Now, Michigan State may only shoot 48.1% on two-pointers and 37.8% on threes, but the Spartans rank 281st in three-point attempt percentage. This means they will still try to get the ball inside the arc. Illinois is much better at defending inside than the perimeter. Illinois is allowing teams to shoot around 32% from deep, but only 42.4% on twos. This number ranks ninth in the NCAA.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illini have the opposite approach. They are shooting a collective 33.2% from deep and 56.9% on twos. Their two-point field goal percentage ranks 12th in the NCAA, but they also rank 24th in three-point attempt percentage. MSU is holding the opposition to less than 30% from three-point range, so the Illini may have to deviate from their typical plans of driving and kicking and getting the ball inside. MSU is allowing opponents to shoot around 47% on twos.

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One area in which the Illini have struggled is turnovers. They are turning the ball over 20.4% of the time, but they do turn opponents over 21.7% of the time, ranking 45th in college hoops. That said, MSU is the complete opposite, ranking 354th in defensive turnover rate and 53rd in offensive turnover rate.

Illinois should be able to get out in transition at times, but this should be mostly a half-court game. Malik Hall, A.J. Hoggard and Sissoko all have turnover rates above 19%, meaning they could be victims of the Illini’s defensive tenacity.

Michigan State vs. Illinois Betting Pick

Illinois will likely play to MSU’s usual pace, as it did in games against Nebraska and Northwestern. Illinois definitely has a rebounding edge and should find some open looks, but MSU can negate guard attack from deep.

Look for this game to be a classic Big Ten battle that possibly comes down to the last couple minutes.

Take the under at 136.5 (-110), and play it to 135.5 (-110).

Pick: Under 136.5 (Play to 135.5)

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