The Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-3, 1-1 Big 10) and their outstanding offense will be 8-point favorites when they welcome the Illinois Fighting Illini (10-5, 0-2 Big 10) and their stifling defense. The game’s Over/Under (O/U) opened at 153 points and action starts at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Odds
Both teams were victorious over their last opponent. The Golden Gophers defeated the Harvard Crimson 65-55, while the Fighting Illini beat the Grand Canyon Antelopes 62-58.
The Fighting Illini, who came into the game averaging an offensive rebounding percentage of 37.8, had an absurd mark of 42.9 and held the Antelopes to an effective field goal percentage of 0.383 (below their season average of 0.500). Meanwhile, Minnesota dominated nearly every facet of their game. They had a solid free throw rate of 0.300 (above their season average of 0.279) and an offensive rebounding percentage of 40.5 (above their season average of 35.0). For those same stats, Harvard was 0.094 and 25.6, respectively. Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy had a solid performance, recording 13 points and 12 rebounds. Meanwhile, Illinois received a boost from Leron Black, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The game should be a battle of strength against strength as the high-powered offense of Minnesota (42nd in the NCAA with an offensive efficiency of 115.2) takes on the stingy defense of Illinois (41st in the NCAA with a defensive efficiency of 93.1).
Vegas has a tendency to set the total high when the Fighting Illini are involved, as 72.7 percent of their games have ended under the total. Illinois heads into the game with records of 10-5 straight up (SU) and 6-5 against the spread (ATS).
Unlike Illinois, games including the Golden Gophers tend to go over the total (64.3 percent). Additionally, Minnesota is 12-3 SU and 7-7 ATS.
The Golden Gophers won the only game between these two teams last year, 68-59. The Golden Gophers’ 6.5 turnover percentage was their largest strength over the Fighting Illini, who had a mark of 12.8. This is the first time these teams will battle this year.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Pick
Predictions: SU Winner – Illinois, ATS Winner – Illinois, O/U – Under
Minnesota ranks third in blocks per game (7.3) while Illinois ranks 178th (2.1).
The Fighting Illini rank 32nd in steals per game (8.1) while the Golden Gophers rank 147th (5.6).
Illinois ranks 89th in rebounds per game (37.7) while Minnesota ranks 174th in rebounds allowed per game (36.5).
The Fighting Illini rank 19th in three pointers allowed per game (17.7) while the Golden Gophers rank 148th (22.4).
Illinois ranks 27th in assists allowed per game (10.9) while Minnesota ranks 151st (14.1).
Illinois is 2-3 ATS on the road, while Minnesota is 4-5 ATS at home.
The Fighting Illini have 4 unders and 1 over in 5 road games.
The Golden Gophers have 6 overs and 3 unders in 9 home games.
The Fighting Illini are 2-2 ATS over their last five games, while the Golden Gophers are 1-4.
In their last five games, Illinois has 3 unders and 1 over, while Minnesota has 3 unders and 2 overs.
During their last five games, the Fighting Illini have scored an average of 75.0 points per game (5.3 below their season average) and allowed an average of 66.0 points per game (3.5 below their season average).
The Golden Gophers’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 8.8, down from 13.2 for the season.