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What Kofi Cockburn’s Absence Means for Illinois vs. Maryland Betting Odds (Jan. 21)

What Kofi Cockburn’s Absence Means for Illinois vs. Maryland Betting Odds (Jan. 21) article feature image
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Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Kofi Cockburn

The Illinois Fighting Illini were dealt a significant blow on Friday when starting center Kofi Cockburn was ruled out vs. Maryland due to concussion protocols.

Cockburn suffered the injury in practice on Sunday with his status worsening after Monday afternoon’s game against Purdue.

That leaves a massive hole in the Illini lineup without his 21 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

As good as Cockburn is — he’s third on the oddsboard at BetMGM to win the Wooden Award — has the betting market responded appropriately to Illinois playing without him?

The Illini opened as 7.5-point favorites for their road game at Maryland. It reached -8 briefly but was at -7 when news came out that Cockburn was out. That moved the consensus line to -3.5 before settling at the current price of Illinois -4.5 (real-time odds here).

While his worth to the spread depends on the matchup, The Action Network’s college basketball expert, Stuckey, makes him worth 4-4.5 points based on the drop off to his replacements.

“Kofi went out in the first half with two fouls in the first matchup with 10:30 to go and Illinois leading 21-7,” Stuckey said. “Maryland outscored Illinois by 18 the rest of the half and took a 34-30 lead into half.

“He then dominated the second half with 16 points and 15 rebounds over the final 20 minutes. Qudus Wahab and Julian Reese fouled out for Maryland trying to guard him.”

With Cockburn out, Illinois will lean more on sophomore Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk and junior Omar Payne. Bosmans-Verdonk played 20 minutes in Illinois’ double-overtime game against Purdue; Payne played seven. Cockburn had been limited to 22 minutes due to foul trouble.

The Big Ten matchup tips off at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.

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