Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Northwestern Wildcats
The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats face off on Thursday in a Big Ten local rivalry game. The Illini are -11.5 point favorites over the Wildcats with an over/under point total set at 132.
The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost three of four game since their Big Ten season has begun but they still find themselves ranked 23rd in the polls. Illinois has played the 10th ranked schedule in the nation yet and it looks like it will only get tougher. As a team Illinois is averaging 73.9 points, 11.1 assists, and they are shooting 43.2 percent while defensively they are allowing 66.3 points, 12.5 assists, and their opponents are shooting 41.7 percent. Brandon Paul is averaging 18.1 points and 4.9 rebounds, Tracy Abrams is averaging 12.1 points, and D.J. Richardson is averaging 11.1 points. Illinois is looking to get it turned back around as it doesn’t get any easier going forward.
The Northwestern Wildcats have lost three of their four Big 10 games this season and it looks like it could be a long year in Evanston. Northwestern is 2-1 on the road this season and they have played the 60th ranked schedule in the country. As a team Northwestern is averaging 65.8 points, 16.1 assists, and they are shooting 41.9 percent while defensively they are allowing 62.2 points, 13.1 assists, and their opponents are shooting 41.4 percent. Reggie Hearn is averaging 13.7 points and 4.9 rebounds, Dave Sobolewski is averaging 11.5 points, and Jared Swopshire is averaging 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds. Northwestern is still trying to overcome the injury to Drew Crawford.
Illinois is 8-21 against the spread in the last 29 games, 1-4 against the spread in their last five home games, and 2-9 against the spread following a loss. Northwestern is 1-4 against the spread against the Big Ten, 5-2-1 against the spread in their last eight road games, and 0-4-1 against the spread following a double digit home loss. The underdog has covered in four of the last five meetings of these two.
Illinois is primed to blow out Northwestern in this spot and while I usually shy away from a number like this in a rivalry I am willing to lay it here.
Illinois Fighting Illini -11.5 Northwestern Wildcats