Penn State vs. Illinois Odds, Pick & Betting Prediction: Are the Nittany Lions Starting to Get Too Much Love?

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Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Alan Griffin

  • The updated betting odds for Tuesday night's Big Ten showdown between Penn State and Illinois makes the red-hot Nittany Lions a sizable favorite (spread: PSU -6.5) with the over/under set at 142.5.
  • PSU has won eight consecutive games, but the betting market buying that they'll cover the line tonight.
  • Below, we'll analyze how professional bettors have sent the total skyrocketing, and why the Fighting Illini are worth a pick at the current spread.

Penn State vs. Illinois Odds

  • Odds: Penn State -6.5 [In PA? Bet Now]
  • Over/Under: 142.5
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

Penn State has ripped off eight straight wins in Big Ten play, a school record that’s vaulted them into the top 10 in the nation and one game behind Maryland for the conference lead.

Illinois has stumbled a bit after a hot start to Big Ten play, losing four straight and failing to top 70 points in every contest.

Can the Nittany Lions keep their winning streak alive? Let’s dive in.

Hershkovich’s Pick: Illinois Pace Could Keep This Close

To start things off, Ayo Dosunmu — Illinois’ leading scorer and assist man — is day-to-day with a left leg injury. Penn State guard Myreon Jones (illness) is also listed in the same regard, and his coach Pat Chambers noted he’ll be eased into action when he does return.

The Nittany Lions have appeared to hit their peak price in the market, as their national title futures have dipped to 30-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Moving into the top 10 of the AP Top 25 has also altered public bettors’ perception of them.

There’s some value in the Illini as a result, even if Dosunmu doesn’t suit up.

Brad Underwood’s crew will have a size advantage, and it’s generated the No. 1 rebounding rate at both ends because of it. Look for Illinois to control the tempo as a result to slow down Penn State’s transition offense, especially from the perimeter.

Keeping this one a half-court affair will allow for the Illini to attack the basket rather than force up rushed shots.

Penn State is allowing the highest opponents’ free-throw scoring rate in Big Ten play, with Illinois manufacturing the highest clip offensively. On top of that, it boasts the 90th-highest free-throw% (73.3%) in the country.

After racking up four consecutive losses, expect the Illini to at least pull out a cover in this bounce-back spot. — Eli Hershkovich

Eli’s Pick: Illinois +6.5  [In PA? Bet now at DraftKings]

Sharps Hammering Away at Over/Under

Oftentimes sharp bettors find value on the opposite side of the public … which makes sense. If popular picks were consistently profitable, the buildings in Vegas would be quite a bit smaller — if they even existed.

This total, however, has landed 78% of bettors to the over as of the early afternoon, and there’s been no question that sharps are among that majority.

For starters, the over backing has generated 91% of actual money on the total, meaning bigger bets — the ones more likely to come from sharps — are banking on the over.

The reaction from the betting market, however, has been the biggest giveaway of all.

From a low-water mark of 135 — though some books didn’t open until the line was closer to 140 — this total has shot up to 142. Such a significant move isn’t going to come as a result of recreational betting on its own, and four Sports Insights Bet Signals have confirmed four separate cases of smart money hitting the over between 138 and 141.

It’s worth noting that a move to 143 finally attracted a signal on the under, giving us an idea of where sharps believe the over value disappears. — Danny Donahue

Sharp Angle: Over 135 to 142.5 [In PA? Bet now at DraftKings]

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