The 2020 Jimmy V Classic arrives with a top-flight matchup on Wednesday night. The No. 2 Baylor Bears square off against the No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini, with both teams ranking in the top-10 nationally. Baylor thrashed Washington by a 34-point margin in its last contest to improve to 2-0 on the season. Illinois is already 3-0 in 2020-21 with a recent win over the Ohio Bobcats.
Tip-off is at 10 p.m. ET in Indianapolis. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Bears as 4.5-point favorites, up from the opener, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 143 in the latest Baylor vs. Illinois odds. Before you make any Illinois vs. Baylor picks, check out the college basketball predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of almost $2,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. It's also off to a fast start in the 2020-21 season, going 4-1 on its top-rated picks and returning over $300. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on Illinois vs. Baylor in the Jimmy V Classic 2020. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the college basketball lines and trends for Baylor vs. Illinois:
- Baylor vs. Illinois spread: Baylor -4.5
- Baylor vs. Illinois over-under: 143 points
- Baylor vs. Illinois money line: Baylor -200, Illinois +170
- BAY: The Bears are 20-12 against the spread since the start of the 2019-20 season
- ILL: The Illini are 6-6-1 against the spread in the last 13 non-conference games
Why Baylor can cover
The Bears are led by a stellar backcourt, headlined by the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year in Jared Butler. The junior guard is averaging 18.5 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game, with Butler bringing two-way impact to the table. Next to Butler is senior guard MaCio Teague, who is also one of the better guards in the country, and Teague is averaging 18.0 points and 6.5 rebounds this season.
Baylor projects to be elite on both ends of the floor, with a top-five shooting efficiency mark and a top-five national ranking in offensive rebounding. The Bears are shooting 50 percent from three-point range and 56 percent from two-point range this season, and they have plenty of firepower.
Defensively, Baylor has been tremendous in securing the glass, grabbing 83.3 percent of available rebounds. On the perimeter, the Bears are stifling in terms of defensive pressure, leading to opponents shooting only 25.6 percent from three-point distance so far this season.
Why Illinois can cover
Star power is evident in this matchup, and Illinois has two of the best returning players in college basketball. Both Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn were preseason All-Big Ten selections, with Dosunmu garnering first team All-Big Ten honors last season. Dosunmu is a potential first round NBA Draft pick, and he has been excellent so far in 2020-21, averaging 25.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. Cockburn adds 15.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, and he is ultra-efficient, making 64 percent of his shots.
Baylor is allowing its opponents to shoot 57 percent from two-point range and, even in a small sample, that could be a vulnerability for the Bears. In addition, Illinois has been the best rebounding team in the country, ranking No. 1 in the country on the defensive glass and near the top of the nation offensively, and the Illini also have enough firepower to win in a shootout if the situation dictates.
How to make Illinois vs. Baylor picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, with 10 different players hitting double-digits in the simulations. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 60 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Baylor vs. Illinois? And which side of the spread cashes in well over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Illinois vs. Baylor spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up almost $2,600 on its top-rated college basketball spread picks over the past four-plus years, and find out.