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Illinois Fighting Illini at Minnesota U Betting Pick

America's Bookie

AmericasBookie Sportsbook/Casino and Horses.

By: America's Bookie
Date: Feb 18, 2021
   
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The Illinois Fighting Illini will be on the road for a Saturday matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 pm ET tip-off from Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

Ken Pomeroy’s predictive metric has the game as a five-point spread in favor of the road Illinois squad.

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Illinois is back on track

Coming into the season, Illinois was considered one of the premier teams in the nation behind Gonzaga and Baylor. However, after a 5-3 start to the season, those high expectations felt like they may have been ill-advised.

Since the tough start, though, the Illini have righted the ship in a big way, going 10-2 over their last 12 games, with their only losses coming at the hands of Maryland and Ohio State. Illinois has been decent against the spread on the season at 11-8-1.

On the road, the Illini are 4-3 ATS and are outperforming the spread by 4.4 points per game with a margin of victory of 8.6 points per game.

Since the 5-3 start, star guard Ayo Dosunmu has become one of the best players in the entire nation. The junior combo guard is averaging 20 points, five assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 48% from the floor and 44.7% from behind the arc. There are currently no weak points in his game.

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Minnesota: A tale of two teams

The Golden Gophers are possibly the biggest Jekyll and Hyde team in the nation when it comes to home and away performance. In the last two seasons, Minnesota is just 2-18 straight-up on the road while underperforming the spread by nearly three points per game and a margin of victory of nearly minus-nine points per game.

As bad as they have been on the road, the Gophers have been equally good at home. In the last two seasons, Richard Pitino’s team is 24-6 straight-up at home. Top handicappers know they are outperforming the spread by 4.8 points per game with a margin of victory of 11.6 points per game.

Marcus Carr has been a microcosm of the Minnesota program this season. On the road, the senior guard averages 13.1 points per game while shooting just 30% from the floor.

At home, however, Carr averages nearly 23 points per game while shooting around 48% from the field. He also attempts nearly five more free throws per game at home.

The Pick

This is a fun game because Illinois is so good right now while Minnesota is a tough out at home. In the previous matchup this season, Illinois completely dismantled the Gophers but that game took place at the State Farm Center.

The biggest matchup in this game is between big men Liam Robbins of Minnesota and Kofi Cockburn of Illinois. Cockburn ate Robbins up in the first matchup to the tune of 33 points and 13 rebounds.

Robbins has struggled against good centers all season and there is no reason to think anything else will happen in this game.

Take Illinois straight-up and to cover any spread up to 6.5 points.

This one didn’t age too well, but check out our AFC Championship betting preview.


 

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