Illinois Fighting Illini (8-3) at Northwestern Wildcats (6-3)
College Basketball: Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 9:00 pm (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
The Line: Northwestern Wildcats +6.5 -- Over/Under: 148.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats meet Thursday in college basketball action from Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Illinois enters this one at 8-3 overall. The Illini are riding a three-game winning streak and coming off a victory over Purdue. As for Northwestern, they’re sitting at 6-3 so far. The Wildcats have lost consecutive games to Iowa and Michigan. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
Illinois opened up the season with three straight wins before taking a loss to Baylor in game four. A win over Duke, a loss to Missouri and a win over Minnesota followed before a loss to Rutgers. In their last three, the Illini have taken wins 98-81 over Penn State, 69-60 over Indiana and 66-58 over Purdue.
In the win over the Boilermakers on Saturday, Illinois’ top scorer was Kofi Cockburn with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Da’Monte Williams doubled up on 12 points with 10 rebounds, and Ayo Dosunmu added 12 points, three assists and five rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
Over on the Northwestern side, a loss to Pitt was the only blemish over their first seven games; otherwise the Wildcats took out AR-Pine Bluff, Chicago State, Quincy, Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State. Since then it’s been two more losses for Northwestern to Iowa and Michigan.
In the 85-66 loss to Michigan on Sunday, Northwestern’s leading contributor was Robbie Beran with 14 points, two rebounds and one assist. Miller Kopp chipped in 13 points with four rebounds, and Pete Nance finished in double-figures as well on 10 points and three boards.
The Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games and 1-5 ATS in their last six Thursday games. The over is 6-2 in Northwestern’s last eight home games and 5-0 in their last five after an ATS loss.
Meanwhile, the Illini are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games overall and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six after a straight-up win. The over is 7-0 in Illinois’ last seven road games and the over is 11-3-1 in their last 15 overall.
PICK: I’m going to stick with Illinois here. The Illini had a solid game against Purdue their last time out, notching 48.1 percent shooting from the field with the advantage in rebounds 39-33 and Assists 17-11. Illinois has given up just 118 combined points in their last two games. As for Northwestern, they played admirably against Michigan but just couldn’t keep up the pace. If Illinois can get off to a hot start in this one it’ll be tough for the Wildcats to keep up.