Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:48 AM

Illinois vs. Duke Predictions, Odds

  • December 8, 2020
  • By David Schwab

As part of this season’s annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini travel to Durham, NC Tuesday night to tangle with the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils. Game time on ESPN from Cameron Indoor Stadium is set for 9:30 p.m. (ET).


Illinois-Duke Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Duke -4
  • Money-Line: Duke -182 Illinois +155
  • Total: 146.5

Odds Subject to Change

The ACC-host Blue Devils have been opened as -3.5-point home favorites for Tuesday’s big showdown. The total for this game has been set at 147.5 points. Illinois got off to a straight-up 3-0 start (2-1 against the spread) before coming up well short as a +4.5-point underdog in a 13-point loss to Baylor on Dec. 2. The total has gone OVER in three of the four contests.

The Fighting Illini are 7-13 SU in their last 20 road games and just 1-9 SU in their last 10 games against the ACC. The total has gone OVER in five of their last six games overall. Duke got tripped up by Michigan State SU as a four-point home favorite on Dec. 1. The Blue Devils are 2-1 SU and 0-3 ATS in their first three outings this season. The total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in all three games.

The Blue Devils have failed to cover in five of their last seven games closing as favorites. However, they have won 15 of their last 17 games SU against the Big Ten. They are 2-0 SU and ATS in two previous meetings against Illinois.


Betting Analysis – Illinois Fighting Illini

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-1
  • ATS: 2-2
  • SU - Home: 3-0
  • SU - Away: 0-1
  • O/U: 3-1

Holding the No. 5 position with the loss to Baylor is a testament to how solid this team really is. The Fighting Illini basically fought the Bears to a draw through the first 20 minutes before getting outscored 51-39 in the second half.

Guard Ayo Dosunmu scored a team-high 18 points in the 82-69 loss. On the year, he is averaging 23.8 points per game while shooting 50% from the field and 47.1% from three-point range. Four more players are averaging at least nine PPG.

A few of the team highlights through four games is a solid 53.2 shooting percentage from the field. Illinois is also pulling down an average of 49.3 rebounds a night. Center Kofi Cockburn has led the way in that department with 9.8 rebounds a game.

Betting Analysis – Duke Blue Devils

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 2-1
  • ATS: 0-3
  • SU - Home: 2-1
  • SU - Away: 0-0
  • O/U: 0-2-1

Duke had no answer for Michigan State standout Rocket Watts. He scored 20 points in the 75-69 loss. Given Dosunmu’s ability to shoot the ball, this remains a concern against this Big Ten power.

The Blue Devils will need another big night from forward Matthew Hurt as the team’s leading scorer with 19 PPG. Forward Jalen Johnson is next on the list with 13.0-point scoring average. Each player is pulling down 8.7 rebounds a game.

Normally one of the more prolific scoring teams in the nation, Duke has averaged just 75.3 points through three games. It is connecting on 45.6% of its shots from the field and 35.5% from three-point range.

Inside the Stats – Illinois Fighting Illini

  • PS/G: 91.2 (24th)
  • PA/G: 63.8 (83rd)
  • Off Rtg: 123.3 (14th)
  • Def Rtg: 86.1 (66th)

Inside the Stats – Duke Blue Devils

  • PS/G: 75.3 (138th)
  • PA/G: 66.7 (109th)
  • Off Rtg: 101.3 (151st)
  • Def Rtg: 89.7 (94th)

Key Players to Watch

  • ILL - Ayo Dosunmu (23.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 6.3 APG)
  • ILL - Kofi Cockburn (13 PPG, 9.8 RPG)
  • DUKE - Matthew Hurt (19 PPG, 8.7 RPG)
  • DUKE - Jalen Johnson (13 PPG, 8.7 RPG)

Illinois-Duke Predictions

Michigan State could be better than advertised while Duke may have been slightly overrated. Either way, the Blue Devils have an equally tough a test this Tuesday night at home. Given their extended domination against Big Ten teams, I do not see them coming up short again.

While the game has the makings of an instant classic with plenty of talent on either side, my lean is towards Duke covering the points at home. It will take a much more concerted effort on offense to get the win. In turn, this should drive up the total score higher than the set total line.

  • Score Prediction: Duke 82 Illinois 77
  • Best Bets: Duke -4
  • Best Bets: OVER 146.5

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