Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Our Best Bets for January 21

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Andre Curbelo #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini shoots the ball against Isaiah Thompson #11 of Purdue. Michael Hickey/Getty Images/AFP

The Illinois Fighting Illini will look to move forward after a loss to Purdue on Monday.

Will they get the job done on the road against the Maryland Terrapins? Let’s break down the NCAAB odds for this matchup!

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Maryland Terrapins

Friday, January 21, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at XFINITY Center

Betting Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini will look to get back on track in a road matchup against the Maryland Terrapins. Illinois lost its previous game on Monday to Purdue in double overtime.

In that game, Illinois never really had the lead but continued to fight with Andre Curbelo back in the lineup. Curbelo had been out for two months and made his return off the bench, sparking the Fighting Illini in their old building. But Illinois still came up short in that game.

On the other hand, Maryland is currently 1-6 in league play and has lost five of its last six games with the lone win coming in double overtime against Northwestern. Despite being at home, Maryland doesn’t look like it’ll have a chance against Illinois.

Betting Analysis

Illinois is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 54.6 percent while grabbing 39.3 percent of offensive rebounds on the season. The Fighting Illini really isn’t shy about taking long-range jumpers and has hit 38.1 percent of threes this season.

Plus, Illinois has hit 52.8 percent of shots inside the arc and continues to shoot well from the charity stripe, hitting 72.9 percent at the foul line.

The one area where Illinois has struggled has been in the turnover department, however. Illinois is turning the ball over 19.6 percent of the time. But now with Curbelo back in the mix, Illinois has a true point guard running the show.

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He had no turnovers in 26 minutes in the loss to Purdue on Monday. On the other hand, Illinois won’t be a big threat to force turnovers either, but the Fighting Illini are much better at forcing tough shots. Teams are shooting an effective field goal percentage of 44.5 percent against Illinois.

Illinois has limited teams to 32.7 percent from three and 42.7 percent from inside the arc on the year. Maryland loves to get to the line and get a solid amount of points there, but Illinois is usually sound on keeping teams off the line.

The Terrapins are shooting 31.4 percent from three and 48.8 percent from inside the arc, so you could understand why Maryland tries to get to the line at a high rate. They’ve been below average from the field this season and above average at the foul line.

Betting Prediction

Therefore, I’ll take Illinois -7 in this matchup. I think this is where Illinois really shows how dominant it can be. Illinois is mostly healthy again and that will bode well against the weaker teams in the Big 10.

Maryland struggled at home against Rutgers last time out and really didn’t defend the three all that well in that game. Then they took on an underachieving Michigan team, on the road, and forgot to wake up for the start of the game.

I believe that Illinois -7 is the play tonight, although, for me, it’s not an "official” NCAAB pick, so keep that in mind!

NCAAB Pick: Illinois -7 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Illinois -7 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.