Tuesday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Betting Penn State vs. Illinois, Kentucky vs. LSU

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Darius Days

  • Updated odds for tonight's Penn State vs. Illinois matchup (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1) have the Nittany Lions as 6-point favorites over the Fighting Illini.
  • The spread for Kentucky vs. LSU (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) has the Tigers favored by 2.5.
  • Get our college basketball picks for both conference matchups below.

Eli Hershkovich is an Action Network contributor and produces/hosts the You Better You Bet Podcast on RADIO.COM Sports.

With nine ranked teams in action on Tuesday’s college basketball board, let’s dissect No. 9 Penn State vs. Illinois and No. 10 Kentucky at LSU.

Both matchups present pregame value.

College Basketball Odds & Picks


College basketball odds as of Tuesday morning and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Penn State vs. Illinois Odds

  • Odds: Penn State -6.5 [In PA? Bet Now]
  • Over/Under: 139.5
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

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.

Pick: Illinois +6.5

LSU vs. Kentucky

  • Odds: LSU -2 vs. Kentucky
  • Over/Under: 150
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Similar to the Illini, I’m backing the Tigers in a buy-low spot (1-4 against the spread in their past five games) at home against the Wildcats (3-2 ATS in their past five contests).

LSU has undergone defensive regression in SEC play, showcasing the third-lowest Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (109.5 opponents’ points per 100 possessions) in conference.

But Kentucky can’t expose the Tigers’ biggest flaw at that end of the floor — 3-point shooting.

Will Wade’s unit has yielded the second-highest perimeter scoring rate during this span while the Wildcats have racked up the lowest 3-point scoring rate. Expect LSU to pack the paint, and it presents the size to match up against Kentucky’s Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery.

Moreover, the Tigers should create mismatches offensively with their prowess for crashing the glass. LSU owns the 13th-highest offensive rebounding rate in college basketball, and the Wildcats rank just above average across Division I and in SEC play.

Wade’s frontcourt — comprised of Trendon Watford, Darius Days and Emmitt Williams — will be the difference-maker vs. a Kentucky team that’s been bailed out by rising sophomore Immanuel Quickley and his ability to get to the line — he’s 44 of 48 on free throws in his past five games.

Pick: LSU -2

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