Illinois vs Michigan State NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

Posted by Michael Hunt on January 4, 2016 in

This Big 10 matchup between the Fighting Illini and the Spartans takes us to the Breslin Center where we find the number one ranked team in the nation pitted up against a team that’s struggling to maintain a .500 record. Despite this typically being a fairly even match up, this year the Spartans will be too much for the Fighting Illini, even without star player Denzel Valentine, who has already stated that he won’t be back until the match up against the Nittany Lions. Expect this game to be over quickly. To the average fan this game would be a bore to watch, but for NCAAB betting buffs, this game will be a gold mine full of opportunity. You can tune in at 9:00 PM EST on ESPN to catch this game.

Fighting Illini vs Spartans NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

In this game you’re playing an odds game, it’s that easy. Choosing Illinois, no matter how great the payout is, is going to be a huge risk to your bankroll. Although the Spartans just lost to Iowa in a double digit loss, Iowa is a much stronger team than the Illini and don’t expect a repeat of that Spartan loss, even without Denzel Valentine. Be sure to check back here on often to get updated odds once the oddsmakers publish them.

Why Bet on the Illinois Fighting Illini?

The Spartans have looked a bit “lost” without Denzel Valentine. The entire Spartan offense runs through Denzel. He scores the most points on their team, dishes out 7 assists per game,and even contributes an average of over 8 rebounds per game. Without him, the Spartans went to overtime against a terrible Oakland team, lost to Iowa, and finally regrouped to barely snag a win against the Golden Gophers. The Illini have a chance to stick with the Spartans in this game, and although their shot at winning is slim, I would expect them to make this a close game until the last few minutes.

Why Bet on the Michigan State Spartans?

As bad as Michigan State has looked without Valentine, the Illini have looked worse all year long. With an 8-7 record, and one of the worst backcourts in the big ten (319th in division 1 in rebounding), Matt Costello is going to feast on the boards all game long. Malcolm Hill is the only real threat on the Illini, and the Spartans lock down defense should have no trouble containing Hill. Sure, this game would be easier with Valentine, but the Spartans should handle this game easily even without him.

Expert Pick and Final Score Projection

I can’t see the Illini winning this game, but they will give the Spartans a run for their money. I would compare the skill level of the Illini to that of Minnesota (who the Spartans just beat by 8), although the Illini might even be a bit better, as their record suggests. The Spartans are one of the best teams in the NCAA, but without Denzel Valentine they’ve slipped up quite a bit. Expect this game to be closer than you’d think.

Final Score Projection: Illinois 64 Michigan State 70