The fourth-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini are coming off their most impressive effort of the season and can position themselves for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a victory at the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon in a Big Ten Conference clash. Illinois (19-6, 15-4 Big Ten) breezed to a 23-point romp at No. 2 Michigan on Tuesday without leading scorer Ayo Dosunmu and will be looking to avenge a six-point loss to the Buckeyes in mid-January. Ohio State had vaulted as high as No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll but is trying to avert a season-worst fourth consecutive defeat.
Tip-off is at 4 p.m. ET at Value City Arena. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Buckeyes as 2.5-point favorites while the over-under for total points scored is 150.5 in the latest Ohio State vs. Illinois odds. Before finalizing any Illinois vs. Ohio State picks, be sure to see the college basketball predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of over $2,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. It has also returned over $500 on all top-rated college basketball picks this season. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Illinois vs. Ohio State: Ohio State -2.5
- Illinois vs. Ohio State over-under: 150.5 points
- Illinois vs. Ohio State money line: Ohio State -140; Illinois +120
- ILL: 16-9 against the spread this season
- OSU: 14-11 against the spread this season
Why Illinois can cover
Kofi Cockburn is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in his bid to become the first Illini player to average a double-double since 1973. The 7-foot center had 15 points and 11 rebounds while hitting all seven shots from the floor in the loss to Ohio State in January. Not only is he shooting 66.5 percent from the floor, he limited Michigan leading scorer Hunter Dickinson to six points on 1-of-8 shooting.
Dosunmu (broken nose, concussion protocol) continues to be listed as day-to-day and his status is unclear against the Buckeyes. Freshman guard Andre Curbelo has picked an opportune time to snap out of a dreadful offensive funk in which he scored a total of six points over four games. In the four subsequent contests, Curbelo has elevated his game dramatically by scoring in double figures each time, averaging 14.0 points while shooting 54.8 percent.
Why Ohio State can cover
Illinois brings out the best in sophomore power forward E.J. Liddell, who paces the Buckeyes in scoring (15.9 points) and rebounding (6.7). He registered his first career double-double as a freshman with 17 points and 11 rebounds vs. the Illini and scored a career-high 26 points against them in the January matchup. He has scored in double figures in 11 of the past 12 games, including six performances of at least 20 points.
Junior guard Duane Washington Jr. was limited to a season low-tying seven points vs. Iowa on Sunday after averaging 19.0 points over the previous six games. Second to Liddell with an average of 15.3 points, he has made at least one 3-pointer in 29 consecutive games despite going 2 of 12 from behind the arc in the last two. Guard CJ Walker has scored in double figures and shot at least 50 percent in six consecutive games.
How to make Illinois vs. Ohio State picks
The model is leaning under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 150 points. It also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Illinois vs. Ohio State? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.