Last Updated Dec 22, 2021, 10:37 AM

Arizona Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Picks, Predictions, Odds

Dec. 11, 2021
Dave Schwab
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

In a Pac-12/Big Ten matchup late Saturday afternoon, the No. 11 Arizona Wildcats go on the road to face the Fighting Illini of Illinois at State Farm Arena in Champaign. With tip-off set for 5:00 p.m. ET, the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

Score Prediction

Arizona 84, Illinois 77

Best Bets

Over 151.1 (-115) at DraftKings

Arizona Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Predictions

The No. 11 team in the nation brings a straight-up 8-0 record into Saturday’s game. Closing as double-digit favorites in six of those matchups, the Wildcats have looked rather impressive in their fast start out of the gate. The schedule has been somewhat soft, but Arizona has posted quality wins over Wichita State as well as against Michigan on the road as a 3.5-point underdog.

Illinois extended its current SU winning streak to five games with conference victories over Rutgers at home and Iowa on the road. The Fighting Illini closed as 3.5-point underdogs in that recent upset against the Hawkeyes.

Betting this game SU, my lean is towards Arizona with a clear edge in scoring and overall team depth. However, Illinois will be a tough out at home in a game that could stay close until the final buzzer. Regardless of which side wins this game, the final tally on the scoreboard will add up to enough points to go OVER the total line.

Arizona Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Odds

Odds Provided by DraftKings - Subject to Change

  • Arizona -1 (-115)
  • Illinois +1 (-105)
  • Over 151.5 (-115)
  • Under 151.5 (-105)

More Odds | Futures Odds

Arizona Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Pac-12 vs. Big 10
  • Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021
  • Venue: State Farm Arena
  • Location: Champaign, Illinois
  • TV-Time: FOX - 5:00 p.m. ET

Arizona Wildcats Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 8-0
  • ATS: 7-1
  • O/U: 6-2

Arizona won its first eight games with relative ease. The closest margin of victory was four points against Wichita State. The Wildcats crushed Michigan 80-62 on Nov. 21 as part of their 7-1 record against the spread. The main betting trend that caught my eye heading into Saturday’s contest was the total going OVER in six of their last seven games.

It is easy to bet the OVER on any total line behind an offense that is averaging 91.6 points a game. This makes Arizona the highest scoring team in the nation. There are four different players averaging at least 11 points per game led by guard Bennedict Mathurin (17 points). Forward Azuolas Tubelis. is a close second with 15.8 points a game.

Center Christian Koloko (14.4 points) is the Wildcats’ leading rebounder (6.9) and guard Kerr Kriisa (11.0 points) is averaging a team-high 5.2 assists per game. Scoring depth carries over to the Arizona bench in what has been an overall team effort.

As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 49.6% from the field and 33..8% from three-point range. With an average of 44.6 rebounds a game, 13.1 have been on offense. As good as Arizona has been at scoring points, its defense has been just as solid with a points-allowed average of 59.5.

Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 7-2
  • ATS: 4-5
  • O/U: 6-3

Illinois is knocking on the door to enter the national polls and a win on Saturday would blow those doors wide open. The fast start in Big Ten play has caught some attention along with a solid 10-point victory against Notre Dame. This has taken some of the attention away from the team’s earlier losses to Marquette and Cincinnati, closing as the favorite.

Overall, the Fighting Illini are 4-5 ATS but they have covered in their last three games. The total has gone OVER in their last five outings while scoring an average of 84.2 PPG during that run. The team’s scoring average on the year is a more modest 77.9 points.

Center Kofi Cockburn and guard Alfonso Plummer have led the way in recent wins. Plummer put up 24 points against Rutgers and Cockburn scored 17 points with a career-high 18 rebounds in Monday’s 87-83 victory against Iowa. On the year, Plummer is averaging 15.8 PPG and Cockburn leads the team in both points (22.8) and rebounds (11.8).

Illinois has a field goal percentage of 45.7 while connecting on 36% of its shots from three-point range. It matches up well under the boards with 43.6 rebounds a game while holding opposing teams to 65.9 PPG.

Inside the Stats - Arizona Wildcats

  • Record: 8-0
  • VI Ranking: 11
  • PS/G: 91.6 (1st)
  • PA/G: 59.5 (37th)
  • ORtg: 119.8 (5th)
  • DRtg: 77.8 (4th)

Inside the Stats - Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Record: 7-2
  • VI Ranking: 31
  • PS/G: 77.9 (78th)
  • PA/G: 65.9 (128th)
  • ORtg: 110.7 (57th)
  • DRtg: 93.7 (120th)

Key Players to Watch

  • ZONA: Bennedict Mathurin - G (17 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
  • ZONA: Azuolas Tubelis - F (15.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
  • ILL: Alfonso Plummer - G (15.8 ppg)
  • ILL: Kofi Cockburn - C (22.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg)

Arizona Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Conclusion

It is hard to ignore Arizona’s recent beat down of Michigan as another Big Ten team. However, I do see Illinois putting up a much better effort in front of its hometown crowd. With both team’s top shooters playing at a high level, the points will add up quick.

Head-to-head, Arizona has the clear edge over the past eight meetings with a 6-2 record both SU and ATS. The total has gone OVER in the past six games, including the Wildcats’ 90-69 victory at home in the last meeting back in 2019.

Arizona Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Trends

  • Arizona has covered the spread in seven of its last eight games.
  • Arizona has gone OVER the point total in six of its last eight games.
  • Illinois has gone OVER the point total in six of its last nine games.


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