NCAA Basketball Picks: Northwestern Wildcats vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Northwestern Wildcats at No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini
Thursday, 1/17/12, 8:15 PM EST, TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Point Spread: Illinois -10.5
Current Betting Line: Illinois -10.5
Opening Total: 132
Current Total: 131.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Northwestern has lost three of its last four games, including a 70-50 setback to the Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday, while going UNDER the posted total of 133.5. “There’s so much pressure on your defense to make stops, but then you can’t score at the other end,” stated Wildcats coach Bill Carmody. The Wildcats are 4-1 in games played away from Evanston this year, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks Wednesday night. Northwestern is 4-3 ATS as an underdog this season, with the OVER going 5-2 in that situation.
The Wildcats have two probable starters averaging in double figures, with senior guard Reggie Hearn leading the way in scoring 13.7 points per game. Northwestern is seventh in the nation with a 1.47 assist-to-turnover ratio, as it has committed just 10.9 turnovers per game. Of the team’s first seven Big Ten Conference games, five have been against ranked teams. Defensively, the squad is holding opponents to 62.2 points per game, which is better than the 68.2 mark it finished with last year.
Illinois has dropped back-to-back games, including a 74-51 blowout loss to the Wisconsin Badgers as 6.5-point road underdogs, while going UNDER the total for the third time in four contests. “I’m going to evaluate every guy, starting with competitive, physical, mental toughness type plays,” stated Fighting Illini first-year head coach John Groce. The Fighting Illini should bounce back in this affair, as they’ve won 28 of their last 30 home games against the Wildcats. Illinois is 3-6 ATS as a favorite this season, which should be considered when looking over the college basketball odds page.
The Fighting Illini are 8-1 at home this season, as they’ve lost consecutive game at Assembly Hall just once over the last three years. Illinois is led by the play of senior guard Brandon Paul, who had his career-long streak of 17 games scoring in double figures come to an end Saturday at Wisconsin. He joins up with Tracy Adams and D.J. Richardson to average 55.7 percent of the team’s scoring.
Sports bettors will likely play the total, as the Wildcats have gone OVER the total in their last four games as road underdogs of 9.5 to 12 points.
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