Can Michigan State Cover the Huge NCAA Basketball Spread vs. Illinois?

Can Michigan State Cover the Huge NCAA Basketball Spread vs. Illinois?

Written by on February 20, 2018

With March Madness right around the corner, it is easy to become a little conservative with your wagering as you look to keep your bankroll stacked in preparation for the tournament. This is understandable, but it’s always a good idea to keep your handicapping skills sharp by playing all the way up to the tournament. There are certainly plenty of games to choose from on any given night, and the Michigan State Spartans are starting to look like a team that deserves your wagering attention, just as the NCAA Basketball spread for this contest suggests.

They have continued to play consistent ball as all the teams ahead of them fall apart coming down the stretch, which has helped them move into the #2 spot with just a pair of weeks left on the season. Tuesday night will see them welcome in the Illinois Fighting Illini in a game that you would expect the Spartans to win going away. The Spartans are a 16-point favorite for this one, but can they cover that big spread?

NCAA Basketball Spread & Prediction: Fighting Illini vs. Spartans

  • When: Tuesday, February 20 at 7 PM EST
  • Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: 94.1 FM (Illinois) / 103.7 FM (Michigan State)
  • Live Stream: Watch ESPN
  • NCAA Basketball Spread: Michigan State Spartans -16 (Over/Under at 147 points)

Team Records

  • All: Illinois Fighting Illini 13-15 / Michigan State Spartans 26-3
  • Home: Illinois Fighting Illini 12-6 / Michigan State Spartans 17-1
  • Away: Illinois Fighting Illini 1-9 / Michigan State Spartans 9-2
  • ATS: Illinois Fighting Illini 10-12-2 / Michigan State Spartans 14-13-2
  • Over/Under: Illinois Fighting Illini 10-14 / Michigan State Spartans 15-13

2018 March Madness Betting Predictions, Dates & Locations

Recent Head to Head (Last 10 Games)

  • Record: Michigan State Spartans lead 6-4
  • Score: Illinois Fighting Illini 60.20 / Michigan State Spartans 65.60
  • Field Goal Percentage: Illinois Fighting Illini 38.92 / Michigan State Spartans 46.53
  • Rebounds: Illinois Fighting Illini 26.70 / Michigan State Spartans 37.80
  • 3 Point Shots: Illinois Fighting Illini 60-204 / Michigan State Spartans 52-156
  • Steals: Illinois Fighting Illini 7.20 / Michigan State Spartans 3.80

Why bet on the Illinois Fighting Illini?

Illinois comes into this game with a 13-15 record and is a team heading in the wrong direction. Conference play has proven to be a bit too much for them to handle, as they are just 3-12 in Big Ten play. They went through a spell where they had just 2 wins in a 12-game spell but broke out of that funk with a win over Nebraska on the weekend. It really is small consolation for a team that has not been particularly strong in any aspect of the game this season.

Making matters worse if the fact that the majority of their losses have come against other unranked opponents. Illinois has just two games against ranked teams this season, both of which they lost quite convincingly. One of those losses came against these very Spartans on home court, with the final score there being 87-74. Illinois are 10-13-1 ATS and 9-14-1 O/U this season.

Team Statistics

Offense

  • Total Score: 75.61
  • Field Goal Percentage: 43.76
  • Three-Point Percentage: 32.02
  • Free Throw Percentage: 72.76
  • Total Rebounds: 34.00

Defense

  • Total Score: 72.50
  • Field Goal Percentage: 46.88
  • Three-Point Percentage: 33.13
  • Free Throw Percentage: 71.77
  • Total Rebounds: 32.86

Why bet on the Michigan State Spartans?

Make no mistake about it, the Michigan State Spartans are a team that is starting to believe that they can be the #1 team in the nation when all is said and done. They will still need some help from Virginia in the form of a loss or two, but the Spartans are certainly doing all that they can to help their own cause. This team has now won 10-straight, including a massive 68-65 win over a Purdue Boilermakers team that was occupying the #3 spot when that game was played. The Spartans are consistently good up and down the court, averaging 82.6 PPG while giving up just 64.8 PPG.

The Spartans are huge favorites at the NCAA Basketball Spread against Illinois.

They are also in the top 10 in the nation in rebounding, which helps explain why both their offense and defense is playing so well. Besides looking for the #1 ranking, the Spartans also want the Big Ten regular-season crown and they are currently at the top of the conference with a 1-game lead. Michigan State has gone 14-13-2 ATS and 15-13 O/U this season.

Team Statistics

Offense

  • Total Score: 82.62
  • Field Goal Percentage: 51.46
  • Three-Point Percentage: 42.27
  • Free Throw Percentage: 73.94
  • Total Rebounds: 41.17

Defense

  • Total Score: 64.79
  • Field Goal Percentage: 36.19
  • Three-Point Percentage: 33.23
  • Free Throw Percentage: 72.71
  • Total Rebounds: 30.55

Latest NCAA Basketball Betting Trends

  • Illinois is 4-7-2 ATS in its last 13 games
  • Illinois is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 15 of Illinois’s last 18 games on the road
  • Michigan State is 1-5-2 ATS in its last 8 games
  • Michigan State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Michigan State’s last 5 games

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

This is a game that Michigan State should win without breaking too much of a sweat, with the margin of victory being the only real question needing to be answered here. I think the Spartans fall just short of the 16-point spread.

Score: Illinois Fighting Illini 60 – Michigan State Spartans 74