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Illinois Big Underdog at Michigan in Battle of Top-4 Heavyweights

Kofi Cockburn and the Illinois Fighting Illini are sizable underdogs in NCAAB betting odds going up against the Michigan Wolverines on Tuesday night.

Two of the top teams in the country square off Tuesday night as the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (18-1 SU, 15-4 ATS) host the No. 4 Illinois Fighting Illini (18-6 SU, 15-9 ATS). The Illini are sizable betting underdogs going up against a Wolverines squad that is undefeated in a dozen games at home this season.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs Michigan Wolverines
  • Date/Time: March 2, 7 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Crisler Center
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Michigan -7 | O/U 147.5 (Line History)
  • Illinois vs Michigan Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Illinois opened as a 7-point underdog for this showdown of top-ranked Big Ten heavyweights and that line has stretched to +8.5. The total for this matchup opened at 147.5 and has since gone down a point to 146.5.

Illinois News & Notes

The Fighting Illini, winners of nine of their last 10 and coming off an underdog road victory vs Wisconsin, haven’t been this high in the AP rankings since the 2004-05 season.

The Illinois offense rates in the top 25 nationally in total scoring, field-goal percentage, three-point percentage and offensive rebounds. The Illini average 81.2 points per game, second in the Big Ten behind Iowa.

Leading the way is NBA prospect Ayo Dosunmu, a junior guard who tops the team in scoring (21.0 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg). Jamaican big man Kofi Cockburn scores 17.7 points per game and leads the conference by hauling down 9.9 rebounds per outing. 

Michigan News & Notes

The Wolverines have won seven straight since their only loss of the season to Minnesota on January 16. Michigan has covered the spread in three straight games and is coming off 16- and 22-point wins over Indiana and Iowa.

In just over 25 minutes per game, freshman center Hunter Dickinson averages 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds and tops Michigan starters in field-goal percentage (62.1).

Complementing the seven-footer are a pair of senior guards, Eli Brooks and Mike Smith, who both come into this contest averaging 8.7 points per game.

Betting Pick: Illinois +8.5

Now getting 8.5 points, we have no choice but to tail the No. 4 team in the country. Illinois has won two straight against Michigan and has too many offensive weapons to not keep this one tight.

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Shark Bites
  • Illinois is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games.
  • The UNDER is 5-1 in Michigan’s last 6 games.
  • Illinois is 6-13-1 ATS in its last 20 vs Michigan.