Illinois vs. Iowa NCAA Basketball Picks and Odds Analysis

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Keegan Murray #15 of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images/AFP

We may not be into the meat of conference schedules yet, but it sure is nice to have some league games to add to our NCAAB betting slate on Monday when the Illinois Fighting Illini battle the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Iowa Hawkeyes 

Monday, December 06, 2021 – 07:00 PM EST at Carver-Hawkeye Arena 

As it has done for several years now, the Big Ten knocks out some early conference contests in order to satisfy the 20-game league schedule. Conference action began this past weekend, and this will be the second Big Ten matchup for both Illinois and Iowa. 

Coming off the truncated 2020-21 schedule, things are actually starting to feel normal on the college hoops front, even with a few early cancellations caused by the latest strain of the flu.

The Fighting Illini and Hawkeyes experienced opposite results on the NCAAB scores in their conference openers, Illinois winning its game with Rutgers while Iowa lost a tough one on the road at Purdue. That leaves Fran McCaffrey’s bunch facing an early pivotal Big Ten game, especially with this one taking place at home in Iowa City. 

Illini Have Won Last Three Meetings 

Assuming you’re not holding a ticket for the matchup, FS1 has your courtside seat with the broadcast. Iowa is giving up 3 at the best online betting sites where the total is sitting in the 151½-152½ range.

We last saw the Fighting Illini and Hawkeyes on the floor together in the semifinals of last season’s Big Ten Tournament, and Illinois came away with an 82-71 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The matchup pitted the No. 3 Fighting Illini and No.5 Hawkeyes and Illinois covered the 3-point chalk while the final stopped just short of a 154-point total. The Fighting Illini took the lead for good about six minutes into the first half. 

Illinois also won and covered the regular season contest with Iowa, that 80-75 final taking place in Champaign. The win in the conference tourney was the third in a row for the Fighting Illini, and the regular-season triumph ended a string of 6-straight Iowa covers. The Hawkeyes have won the last three games on their home floor, the ‘under’ cashing four of the last five clashes.

Illinois Coming off Rout of Rutgers 

Now that he’s had most of his pieces together for a few games, Brad Underwood has the Fighting Illini looking like the team that was among the favorites in the Big Ten entering the season. Illinois controlled matters for the most part last week against Notre Dame in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, taking the lead for good about midway through the first half in an 82-72 decision that covered the college basketball odds

That was followed by a runaway 86-51 win at home over Rutgers on Friday, the conference opener for both the Fighting Illini and Scarlet Knights. Illinois toyed with Rutgers for the first five minutes, then ran away with matters as 9½-point chalk. Alfonso Plummer led the way with 24 points while Jacob Grandison added 17 off the bench. Kofi Cockburn posted his third double-double (13 pts, 15 rebs) in five games. 

One-piece Underwood is still missing is point guard Andre Curbelo. The 6-1 sophomore from Puerto Rico has missed the last three games due to a concussion and played sparingly in the win over Kansas State at the Hall of Fame classic. Curbelo is officially questionable for Monday. 

Hawkeyes with Rivalry Match at Iowa State on Deck 

Though their perfect 7-0 start came to an end last Friday, the Hawkeyes deserve credit for the rally effort they made against the Boilermakers on the road. Closing as a big 15½-point underdog at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review), Purdue battled back from a 19-point hole to close within two points with three minutes remaining before succumbing to Purdue, 77-70. 

Iowa used an aggressive defense to nearly pull off the upset, forcing the Boilermakers into 17 turnovers and holding high-scoring Purdue to under 80 points for the first time this season. The Hawkeyes were also playing without their big man and leading scorer Keegan Murray. The 6-8 sophomore twisted an ankle earlier in the week in a win over Virginia and is listed as probable for Monday’s match with Illinois. 

Iowa is calling for its fans to don all-black gear at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and Illinois lost its only true road game earlier with an upset defeat at Marquette. Both teams have favored the ‘over’ in the early going, but I’m going to run contrary to that with my college basketball pick. 

NCAAB Pick: Under 152 ½ (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 152 ½ (-108)
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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.