College Basketball Predictions: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Thursday, 1/23/14, 7:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Ohio State -10.5
Current Betting Line:  Ohio State -10
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Ohio State Buckeyes have lost four games in a row
The Ohio State Buckeyes have lost four games in a row

Illinois is 0-4 SUATS over its last four games, as it looks to bounce back from a 78-62 setback to the Michigan State Spartans as four-point home underdogs last Saturday, while going OVER the betting total of 131.5.  The Fighting Illini are 5-10 SU overall against ranked opponents under head coach John Groce, including a 1-3 mark during the 2013-14 campaign, which is important to consider when making your college basketball predictions Thursday night.  Illinois is 1-3 SUATS as road underdogs of 9.5 to 12 points the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 3-1 in that situation.

The Fighting Illini have three probable starters averaging in double figures, with junior guard Rayvonte Rice leading the way at 17.4 points a contest.  Illinois has dropped five consecutive Big Ten Conference road games dating back to last season, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college basketball odds page.  The program is also a dismal 2-10 SU all-time when playing at Value City Arena—earning wins in 2004 and 2009.

Ohio State has also dropped its last four games, including a 68-62 defeat to the Nebraska Cornhuskers as eight-point road favorites Monday, while going UNDER the betting total for a second consecutive contest.  The Buckeyes are 55-21 SU following a loss under head coach Thad Matta, but have dropped all three games in that situation this season.  It’s important to point out that the squad is 9-2 SU against Illinois as a ranked team under Matta, including a perfect 5-0 mark at home.  Ohio State is 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS as home favorites of 9.5 to 12 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Buckeyes are trying to avoid their first five-game slide since losing 17 in a row from 1997-98, as they’ve allowed an average of 71.8 points over the course of their losing streak.  Ohio State will need a big game from senior point guard Aaron Craft to cover this type of number, as he enters with 109 career wins.

Sports bettors will likely back the Buckeyes due to the home team being 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings in this series.

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