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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:46 PM

Rutgers vs. Illinois Predictions, Odds, Preview

Mar. 12, 2021
David Schwab
NCAA BK Expert
VegasInsider.com

Friday night’s Big Ten Network’s doubleheader of tournament action at Lucas Oil Stadium starts at 6:30 p.m. (ET) with the No. 7 seeded Rutgers Scarlet Knights squaring off against the No. 2 Illinois Fighting Illini.

BETTING RESOURCES

Rutgers-Illinois Betting Odds

  • Spread: Illinois -7.5
  • Total: 137

Odds Subject to Change

Illinois has been opened as a 7.5-point favorite in this quarterfinals clash. The betting line for the total has been opened at 137 points.

Rutgers started postseason play with Thursday’s 61-50 victory over Indiana as a three-point favorite. This evened its straight-up record to 4-4 in the last eight outings. It is 5-3 against the spread during that same span with the total staying UNDER in six of the eight games.

The Scarlet Knights beat Illinois 91-88 early in the season as slight 1.5-point home underdogs. They're 3-8 SU in their last 11 games against the Fighting Illini but 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.

Illinois closed out the regular season with a four-game winning streak both SU and ATS. It is 11-1 SU over its last 12 contests with a 9-3 record ATS. The total has gone OVER in four of its last six games.

The Fighting Illini are 3-6 ATS in their last nine games played in March. They are 2-4 ATS in their last six Friday games.

Betting Analysis – Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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

  • SU: 15-10
  • ATS: 13-11-1
  • O/U: 11-13-1

Rutgers took a one-point lead over Indiana into halftime before pulling away over the next 20 minutes of play. Ron Harper Jr. led the way with 13 points while going 4-for-11 from the field.

The junior guard is the team’s leading scorer this season with 15.2 points per game. He is shooting 45.3% from the field and 32.3% from three-point range. Center Myles Johnson is pulling down 8.8 of Rutgers’ 36 rebounds a game. He tallied 13 rebounds against Indiana.

The Scarlet Knights are averaging 70 PPG while connecting on 45% of their shots from the field. They are shooting 31.4% from three-point range led by guard Jacob Young (36%). Defensively, Rutgers has held opposing teams to 67.4 PPG this season.

Betting Analysis – Illinois Fighting Illini

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

  • SU: 20-6
  • ATS: 16-9-1
  • O/U: 14-11-1

Illinois could grab one of the four No. 1 seeds in the upcoming NCAA Tournament with a strong showing this weekend. It already has the tournament committee’s attention with three-straight road wins as an underdog to close out regular season play.

After missing three games due to a concussion, Ayo Dosunmu quickly returned to form with 19 points in a season-ending road victory over Ohio State. The junior guard has averaged 20.9 PPG this season as the team’s leading scorer. He also leads the way in assists (5.2) while shooting 49.2% from the field.

The Fighting Illini are scoring an average of 80.7 points with 40.2 rebounds a game. They are shooting 50% from the field and 38.2% from three-point range. Dosunmu is hitting 40% of his shots outside the three-point line.

At the other end of the court, Illinois is allowing an average of 68.5 PPG. It has not allowed more than 70 points in the current four-game winning streak.


Inside the Stats – Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • PS/G: 70 (211th)
  • PA/G: 67.4 (92nd)
  • Off Rtg: 101.9 (181st)
  • Def Rtg: 98 (117th)

Inside the Stats – Illinois Fighting Illini

  • PS/G: 80.7 (17th)
  • PA/G: 68.5 (122nd)
  • Off Rtg: 111.9 (22nd)
  • Def Rtg: 95 (56th)

Key Players to Watch

  • RUTG - Ron Harper Jr. (15.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG)
  • RUTG - Jacob Young (14.4 PPG)
  • ILL - Ayo Dosunmu (20.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.2 APG)
  • ILL - Kofi Cockburn (17.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG)

Rutgers-Illinois Predictions

The return of Dosunmu puts the Fighting Illini at full strength which is bad news for Rutgers. I would bet the Scarlet Knights on a first half spread, but over the course of both halves of play, I'm taking Illinois to cover the 7.5-point game spread.

I'm also taking the OVER on the 137-point total line with both teams eclipsing their season scoring average.

  • Score Prediction: Illinois 82 Rutgers 73
  • Best Bets: Illinois -7.5
  • Best Bets: OVER

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