Last Updated Nov 22, 2021, 1:00 AM

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Picks, Predictions, Odds

Nov. 22, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

The Illinois Fighting Illini (2-1) and Cincinnati Bearcats (4-0) face each other Monday in the Hall of Fame Classic at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on ESPNNews.

Score Prediction

Illinois 82, Cincinnati 67

Best Bets

Illinois -10.5

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Predictions

The Fighting Illini are sort of in the same boat as Big Ten brethren Ohio State. The Illini were able to sleepwalk through a couple of non-conference games against lesser opponents, then they were surprised in their first true road game, losing 67-66 at Marquette on Monday.

Illinois opened with a 71-47 win over a bad Jackson State team, just missing the cover of a 25-point number as the UNDER connected. They rebounded with a 92-53 win over Arkansas State, cashing on the 16.5-point number as the OVER hit, and then, of course, the loss to Marquette.

The good news for Illinois is that they are set to welcome back Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Kofi Cockburn, as he was suspended for the first three games for selling institutionally-issued apparel and memorabilia in June. While that would be fine now under the name, image and likeness legislation in the state of Illinois, the law was enacted in July 1, so technically he violated NCAA rules at the time. Look for Cockburn to come back with a chip on his shoulder, as he has been champing at the bit to get in there and join his teammates.

As far as Cincinnati, it has been a mixed bag so far. The Bearcats have four victories, including a 73-68 win over Georgia on Nov. 13, although they failed to cover a 10.5-point number in that one. The Bearcats are 2-1-1 ATS in four games, splitting the OVER/UNDER.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Odds

More Odds | Futures Odds

Odds Provided by Circa Sports - Subject to Change

  • Cincinnati +400
  • Illinois -527
  • Cincinnati +10.5 (-107)
  • Illinois -10.5 (-110)
  • Over 139.5 (-110)
  • Under 139.5 (-107)

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10 vs. AAC
  • Date: Monday, November 22, 2021
  • Venue: T-Mobile Center
  • Location: Kansas City, Missouri
  • TV-Time: ESPNN - 6:30 p.m. ET

Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 2-1
  • ATS: 1-2
  • O/U: 1-2

Illinois has covered just one of three games, including the outright loss as an eight-point favorite in Marquette.

The Fighting Illini have managed 76.3 PPG, ranking 133rd, which isn’t awful or great. However, the Illini are hitting just 42.4% from the field, which is 242nd in the nation, and the free-throw shooting is even worse. They are hitting just 62.9% from the charity stripe, good for 305th in the country. That was part of its underdoing against Marquette, misfiring on four of 11 chances from the free-throw line. Of course, Illinois also turned it over 23 times against the Golden Eagles, and that simply will not do against a top- tier team.

Last season in neutral-site games, the Fighting Illini went 4-2 SU, while going 3-3 ATS and splitting the OVER/UNDER 3-3 in six games. The last game, of course, was a loss to Loyola-Chicago when the Illini were shown the door in the NCAA Tournament.

Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 4-0
  • ATS: 3-1
  • O/U: 2-2

The Bearcats have been a perfect 4-for-4 so far, but it’s been up and down in terms of the number, going 2-1-1 ATS. Cincinnati easily covered a 11.5-point number in the opener against Evansville, pounding the Purple Aces 65-43. That was the best defensive effort for UC to date, too, although Presbyterian only amassed 45 against the Bearcats last time out.

The big man on campus for Cincinnati so far has been G Jeremiah Davenport, going for 12.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG and a healthy 37.5% percent from behind the 3-point line. G David Dejulius has been solid, too, chipping in with 11.3 PPG through his four outings. Those two are the only players averaging double- digit point totals, however.

Last season in neutral-site games, the Bearcats were just 2-1 SU/ATS in the AAC Tournament, eventually losing 91-54 to Houston in the third and final game, and there was no postseason action for the Bearcats. If you go back to loss to Iowa in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the Bearcats have covered just twice in their past eight neutral-site affairs.

Inside the Stats - Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Record: 2-1
  • VI Ranking: -
  • PS/G: 76.3 (132nd)
  • PA/G: 55.7 (22nd)
  • ORtg: 104.1 (161st)
  • DRtg: 75.9 (15th)

Inside the Stats - Cincinnati Bearcats

  • Record: 4-0
  • VI Ranking: -
  • PS/G: 76.5 (129th)
  • PA/G: 55.5 (20th)
  • ORtg: 110.1 (88th)
  • DRtg: 79.9 (24th)

Key Players to Watch

  • ILL: Coleman Hawkins - SO (14.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg)
  • ILL: Kofi Cockburn - JR (-)
  • CIN: Jeremiah Davenport - JR (12.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
  • CIN: David Dejulius - SR (11.3 ppg)

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Conclusion

The Bearcats have posted four victories in four games, but I don’t think they’ve really been tested yet. Sure, Georgia is an SEC team, so technically the Bearcats have slayed a power conference opponent, but Georgia isn’t exactly the cream of the crop in that league.

The Fighting Illini have plenty of depth, and they likely learned a lot about themselves in that loss in Milwaukee on Monday night. And the loss was just by one point. Imagine if they had Cockburn? Well, you need not imagine any longer, as he is back from his three-game suspension. Illinois is whole now, and the season should really start to take off for Illinois. Look for a double-digit victory for the Big Ten powerhouse, as they use that wake-up call at Marquette to get going.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Trends

  • Cincinnati has won four straight games.
  • Cincinnati has covered the spread in three of its last four games.

We may be compensated by the company links provided on this page. Read more