Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:47 AM

Ohio State vs. Illinois Predictions, Odds

  • January 16, 2021
  • By Thom Cunningham

The Ohio State Buckeyes look to get their momentum going with a crucial road game against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The game is set to begin at noon (ET) and will air on FOX from the State Farm Center.



Ohio State-Illinois Betting Odds

  • Spread: Illinois -6
  • Money-Line: Illinois -260 Ohio State +220
  • Total: 146.5

Odds Subject to Change

Illinois enters as the home favorite, given a -6-point spread despite dropping its last game at home against Maryland. Both schools are 7-5-1 on the ATS this season.

The point total is set at 146.5, which Ohio State is 7-6 on this season. Illinois tends to go OVER the point total a bit more than Ohio State, going OVER in eight of 13 games played this season.


Betting Analysis – Ohio State Buckeyes

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

  • SU: 10-3
  • ATS: 7-5-1
  • SU - Home: 8-0
  • SU - Away: 2-3
  • O/U: 7-6

Ohio State is on a two-game winning streak, as consistency has been this team's downfall. The Buckeyes have failed to win more than two straight games since winning five in a row to open the season.

Big Ten play will do that though, as this is the most difficult conference in the nation. Ohio State hitting the road, now facing a team that is much. more focused after a home loss, is a great measuring stick to see where this team actually is.

There were some road concerns for Ohio State earlier this season, but a recent road win against Rutgers makes one think that the Buckeyes can win this game. It begins with Duane Washington, averaging 15.7 points per game which leads the team.

From there, depth follows. E.J. Liddell, Justice Sueing and Kyle Young all produce solid numbers and CJ Walker might actually play. Keep an eye on Walker's status, averaging over eight points per game but has missed time. He is officially questionable.

Two things Ohio State does well is rebound and shoot free throws. It will be a difficult glass game with Kofi Cockburn on the other side of the court, but the Buckeyes make 18.1 free throws per game (ranks 12th nationally) on 24 attempts per game (ranks 23rd nationally). The high free throw percentage (75% - ranks 43rd nationally) for Ohio State may pay dividends here, especially if they're able to beat Cockburn on the glass.

Betting Analysis – Illinois Fighting Illini

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

  • SU: 9-4
  • ATS: 7-5-1
  • SU - Home: 6-1
  • SU - Away: 3-3
  • O/U: 8-5

Illinois is an offensive juggernaut, led by Wooden Award contender Ayo Dosunmu. If not for Luka Garza, Dosunmu would be the favorite to win this year with an insane stat line. Dosunmu averages over 20 points per game, about seven rebounds and almost five assts.

Both he and Kofi Cockburn are the focal points of this team. Cockburn averages a double-double, as its safe to say that his paint presence carries or slows this Illinois team. Dosunmu will almost always produce, so then the final blow that usually sets Illinois above the rest is Cockburn dominating the paint.

Ohio State has lots of guys who can rebound, but Cockburn is more than capable of taking over any game against any defender he faces. The truth is, though, that Andre Curbelo guarantees an Illinois win if he is playing equally well as the two names just mentioned.

Curbelo has seen great games and forgettable games this season, but averages nearly 10 points and five assists per game. He is a freshman and still learning, but if Illinois has any desire to go far into March Madness then Curbelo will need to mature quicker than he already has.

Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams do provide good experience outside the main three Illini. However, Curbelo has failed to score a double-digit point total in six of his last seven games and only saw three assists against Maryland. If Curbelo isn't seeing at least six assists and eight points, Illinois can lose on any given night in this conference.

Inside the Stats – Ohio State Buckeyes

  • PS/G: 76.8 (95th)
  • PA/G: 66.7 (91st)
  • Off Rtg: 114.2 (20th)
  • Def Rtg: 99.1 (199th)

Inside the Stats – Illinois Fighting Illini

  • PS/G: 83.3 (20th)
  • PA/G: 67.8 (125th)
  • Off Rtg: 115 (16th)
  • Def Rtg: 93.5 (84th)

Key Players to Watch

  • OHST - Duane Washington (15.7 PPG)
  • OHST - E.J. Liddell (13.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG)
  • ILL - Ayo Dosunmu (22.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 4.8 APG)
  • ILL - Kofi Cockburn (17.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG)

Ohio State-Illinois Predictions

Illinois should be much more focused and ready to roll at home. Ohio State is playing on a high, but they're also very inconsistent. Illinois has the better talent and playing at home, but Walker's questionable return is a factor to consider.

Lean Illinois but the point total market seems to be the play here. Both teams are limiting opponents to under 70 points per game, while Illinois has an efficient defense as well. Asking both teams to eclipse the 70-point mark is possible, but also a stretch. Illinois might touch 80, but it's unlikely with Ohio State playing pretty well lately. Expect one team to cross 70 and the other to potentially flirt with it.

  • Score Prediction: Illinois 75 Ohio State 70
  • Best Bets: UNDER

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