The No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes (21-8 overall, 12-8 Big Ten regular season) play the No. 3 Illinois Fighting Illini (22-6, 16-4) Sunday in the Big Ten Men’s College Basketball Tournament championship in Indianapolis. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze the Ohio State-Illinois odds and lines, with NCAA college basketball picks and predictions.
Rankings courtesy of the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports.
Ohio State vs. Illinois: Odds, spread and lines
- Money line: Ohio State +220 (bet $100 to win $220) | Illinois -275 (bet $275 to win $100)
- Against the spread/ATS: Ohio State +6.5 (-115) | Illinois -6.5 (-105)
- Over/Under: 148.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)
Ohio State vs. Illinois: Three things to know
- All three Ohio State Big Ten tourney victories have been nail-biters, including a 68-67 win over conference regular-season champs Michigan in a semifinal as a 5-point underdog.
- Illinois rolled past Rutgers 90-68 as an 8-point favorite Friday in the quarterfinals and then waxed Iowa 82-71 as a 3-point favorite Saturday in the semifinals.
- These teams split the season series 1-1 overall and ATS with the road team winning each contest. However, Illinois is 2-3 overall and ATS vs. Ohio State since Fighting Illini junior G Ayo Dosunmu entered the program.
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Ohio State vs. Illinois: Odds, lines, predictions and picks
Illinois 75, Ohio State 72
Money line (ML)
PASS with a lean on Ohio State (+220) because I like the Buckeyes plus the points, and here or there will sprinkle on an underdog’s money line if betting them to cover.
Also, Illinois’ (-275) implied win probability is 73.33% based on the money line. That is too high for a conference title game in which both teams won a head-to-head regular-season meeting.
Against the spread (ATS)
Even though Illinois -6.5 (-105) is the more well-rounded team, this number is just too big given how well OHIO STATE +6.5 (-115) is shooting the ball in the Big Ten tourney.
Fighting Illini C Kofi Cockburn is a legit 7-footer, listed at 285 pounds on the Illinois website and a force in the middle, but I think Ohio State stylistically can reduce Cockburn’s effectiveness.
For example, Buckeyes big E.J. Liddell has played well against Cockburn in their three head-to-head games. Liddell’s ability to shoot the 3 can pull Cockburn out of the paint, which opens up driving lanes for teammates.
In three career games vs. Illinois and Cockburn, Liddell is scoring 20.6 points on 62.5% shooting (50% from 3) with 7.3 rebounds per game.
GIMME OHIO STATE +6.5 (-115) for 1 unit.
Slight lean on UNDER 148.5 (-110) for a quarter-unit for a couple of reasons. First, the market prefers the Under since the total has been bet down from the 151.5-point opener.
Second, four of the previous six Ohio State games have gone Under the total including its 73-68 home loss to Illinois March 6.
Finally, Ohio State’s offense will get hot from 3 for stretches and then go missing other times.
For instance, in the quarterfinals, the Buckeyes scored 49 points in the first half against Purdue, then 23 points after the break. In the semifinals, Ohio State scored just 26 in the first half, followed by a 42-point second half.
It’s either a pass on the total or an UNDER 150.5 (-110) bet for a quarter-unit.
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