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Maryland and Illinois Clash for the Top Spot in the Big Ten

Maryland vs Illinois Betting Preview

The Maryland Terrapins and Illinois Fighting Illini are both tied for the best record in the Big Ten with matching 8-3 SU conference records. First place in the conference will be on the line this Friday night when these two teams collide in Illinois.

Maryland Terrapins vs Illinois Fighting Illini

Opening Odds Analysis

Early bettors jumped on Illinois as a small favorite at home, driving the spread up two points from its opener of -1 to Illinois -3. The total has also jumped up a point from 132.5 to 133.5 points. Illinois is 3-0 ATS in its last three games against the Terrapins.

Maryland News & Notes

Before this recent winning streak, Maryland was 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS in four games on the road. But with a 77-66 win over Northwestern as 7.5-point road favorites and a 77-76 win over Indiana as 2.5-point road underdogs, the Terrapins appear to have turned a corner. Maryland is 13-0 SU and 8-5 ATS at home and 3-0 SU at neutral locations this season, so improved play on the road could make the Terrapins a legitimate contender as March rapidly approaches.

In addition to having the 24th best scoring defense in the nation allowing 61.7 points per game, the Terrapins have a formidable 1-2 punch on offense in senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. and sophomore forward Jalen Smith. Cowan Jr. leads the team in minutes played (34.1 per game), points (16.3 per game), and assists (4.3 per game) while Smith has averaged 15.2 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Illinois News & Notes

After opening the season with a modest 9-5 SU and 6-6-1 ATS record, Illinois surged into the AP Top 25 with a 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS run through the month of January. That stretch included three outright upsets on the road over Wisconsin, Purdue, and Michigan. The winning streak came to an end on Sunday night on the road against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The Fighting Illini return home for this game where they are 7-0 SU and 4-2-1 ATS over their last seven games. Illinois ranks 59th in the nation on defense allowing 64.2 points per game and 30th in rebounding averaging 40.4 rebounds per game. Leading the way on the boards is 7-foot freshman center Kofi Cockburn with 9.2 rebounds per game to go along with 14 points per game, second only to sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu’s 15.8 points per game.

Betting Pick: UNDER 133.5

These two teams both have strong defenses, and in a battle for sole possession of first place in the Big Ten, expect virtually every possession to be heavily contested on defense.

Shark Bites
  • Maryland is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games against Illinois.
  • Illinois is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games played on a Friday.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Illinois' last 14 games.