The 2021-22 college basketball season continues Friday, January 14, with the Big Ten Conference showdown from State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois, so we bring you the best Wolverines vs. Fighting Illini betting pick and odds.
Michigan meets Illinois for the first time this season. The Fighting Illini search for their fourth consecutive victory over the Wolverines, opening as firm 8.5-point home favorites with a total of 145.0 points on BetOnline Sportsbook.
The Wolverines continue to struggle
The Michigan Wolverines (1-2 Conf.) fell to 7-6 SU and 5-8 ATS on the season following a 75-67 defeat at Rutgers this past Tuesday. It was their second straight loss and third in the last four games, as the Wolverines put on another lousy performance.
Michigan trailed the Scarlet Knights from start to finish and by as many as 17 points. Hunter Dickinson had 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field, but the Wolverines made only three of their 15 attempts from beyond the arc. Also, their second unit combined for a paltry four points, three rebounds, and an assist.
The Wolverines have gone 4-5 SU and 3-6 ATS in the last nine showings at any location. They are No. 27 in the KenPom rankings and No. 52 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings. The Wolverines score 114.4 points per 100 possessions (24th in the country) and surrender 96.3 in a return (46th).
The Fighting Illini shoot for their sixth win in a row
The Illinois Fighting Illini (12-3; 8-7 ATS) are coming off an 81-71 victory at Nebraska this past Tuesday. It was their fifth win on the spin and tenth in their last 11 games overall, but the Fighting Illini failed to cover a 12.5-point spread on the road to stop a four-game ATS win streak.
Illinois dominated the Cornhuskers in the final three minutes of the second half. Trent Frazier led the way for the Fighting Illini with 29 points, including a huge 3-pointer down the stretch, while Kofi Cockburn posted a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double.
The Fighting Illini are 5-0 in the conference play and tied with Michigan State for the top spot in the Big Ten. Illinois is No. 13 in the KenPom rankings and No. 11 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings. The Fighting Illini tally 117.7 points per 100 possessions (10th in the nation) and yield 94.2 in a return (26th).
- 6-2 ATS in the last eight games played in January
- 6-13-1 ATS in the last 20 meetings with Michigan
Michigan vs. Illinois Pick
Illinois has plenty of experience which could be a decisive factor, though covering an 8.5-point spread will be a difficult task despite Michigan’s poor run of form. The Fighting Illini lean on three seniors and junior big man in Kofi Cockburn, but the Wolverines have the talent to cope with the Fighting Illini and keep it close down the stretch.
Michigan needs to show some pride after a couple of stunning losses at Rutgers and UCF. The key for the Wolverines will be their defense. Illinois makes 38.7% of its triples (19th in the country), while Michigan ranks 35th in the nation in the opponent 3-point percentage (29.0%). The Wolverines will cover if they finally start to be aggressive on the defensive end which is a must against Illinois.
Pick: Take Michigan +8.5 at -110
As I’ve mentioned, the Wolverines desperately need a good defensive performance. Also, they have to slow down the tempo and execute well on the other side of the ball. Michigan averages 67.1 possessions per 40 minutes (271st in the country), while Illinois registers 68.7 (178th).
The total has gone under in five of the previous seven matchups between the Wolverines and Fighting Illini. Five of those seven tilts have produced fewer than 134 points in total.
Pick: Go under 145.0 points at -110