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College Basketball

Illinois vs Iowa: Odds, Line, and Picks (3/6/22)

Tonight should feature one of the best games of the regular season as two of the best teams in the Big Ten faceoff in their final game of the season. We’re of course talking about the matchup between Illinois and Iowa. They’re ranked 2nd and 4th in the Big Ten Conference respectively, and the results will have big implications on the final standings. 

It’s an interesting matchup between these two teams. Illinois comes in as the stronger in-conference team with a record of 14-5 compared to Iowa at 12-7. However, Iowa has performed slightly better in out of conference matchups. They have a 22-8 overall record, compared to Illinois which is 21-8 overall. 

Additionally, despite being the higher-ranked team in the Big Ten, Illinois is actually ranked slightly lower in the nation. That being said, they’re as close as two teams can get. Illinois is ranked 15th, and Iowa is ranked 14th

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Coming into the game, both teams are performing fairly well at the moment, but Illinois has struggled a little more. They’re 3-1 in their last four games but struggled to string wins together since the beginning of February. Conversely, Iowa is coming into the game on a five-game winning streak that included a big win over Ohio State. With that in mind, it should be a tight game between two teams that are fighting for position before the Big Ten Tournament next week. 

Illinois vs Iowa Odds 

As we mentioned above, this should be one of the closest games of the season, and the odds reflect that. The only other game between the two teams this season saw Illinois get the edge by the score of 87-83. However, that was all the way back on December 6th, and as a result, it is unlikely to play into tonight’s matchup. Here are the odds, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

  • Spread: Illinois -3.5 Iowa +3.5
  • Total: Illinois U 154 Iowa O 154
  • Money Line: Illinois -165 Iowa +145

Illinois Betting Outlook

Taking a look at the betting odds it’s clear that Illinois is the favorite. Betting on them to win, you will get -165 odds. As a result, you might think that betting on Illinois is the better option to bet on. However, when you expect a close game, it makes more sense to bet on the underdog because your payout will be bigger.

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Looking at the advanced stats, it’s clear that Illinois is a more balanced team, whereas Iowa is a strong offensive team that’s shaky on defense. Illinois is ranked 19th in adjusted offensive efficiency, and 28th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Conversely, Iowa is ranked 6th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, but just 67th in adjusted defensive efficiency. If Iowa is going to win this game, they’re going to get some stops from their defense, and that’s been an issue this season. 

Even with that in mind, it is not necessarily the best move to bet on Illinois. The odds aren’t terrible, but they don’t reflect how small a favorite Illinois should be.

Iowa Betting Outlook 

Conversely, Iowa gets solid odds as the underdog. If you bet on them to win, you will get +145 odds. Since these are two of the best teams in the Big Ten Conference, we can expect a close game. As a result, it’s not unreasonable to bet on Iowa.

Since we are expecting a close game, you should bet on Iowa’s side of the spread. Set at +3.5, it should be a profitable bet. Finally, we think you should bet the over on the total since these are two offensively-minded teams.

Illinois vs Iowa Prediction 

Illinois and Iowa are two of the strongest Big Ten teams, and as a result, we expect a close matchup between two good teams. It should also be a high-scoring affair as these teams excel on offense. That being said, they aren’t exactly poor defensive teams. 

Looking at their in-conference records, Illinois is the clear favorite with a 14-5 record. Conversely, Iowa has a 12-7 record. It’s true that Iowa has performed better in out of conference games, but since this game is being played in-conference, they aren’t very relevant. 

Another thing to consider is where the game is being played. This isn’t the NBA where home-court advantage only gives teams a small edge. In college basketball, home-court advantage is a big deal, and this game is being held in Illinois. Illinois is a very strong home team this year, sporting a 12-3 record. While Iowa has a commendable 6-5 road record, that doesn’t compare to Illinois’ record at home. 

The one area that Iowa has the edge is in recent form. They’ve won five straight and look to be rounding into form as the post-season approaches. That being said, it might not be enough to get the win tonight. 

We think that the balanced group in Illinois will be able to shut down the offensive Iowa team enough to get the win. It should be a high-scoring game, so we’re going to call a final score of 88-82 in favor of Illinois. It could go either way, but it’s tough to bet against a team that performs well on both ends of the floor. 

Where to Watch 

If you want to watch this game, you can catch it on FS1 at 7:30 PM EST.

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