Big Ten Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

by | Last updated Feb 21, 2024 | cbb

Illinois Fighting Illini (19-6 SU, 13-10-2 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (12-14 SU, 12-14 ATS)

When: Wednesday, February 21st, 6:30 PM (ET)

Where: Bryce Jordan Center, PA, University Park


Point Spread: ILL -7.5/PENNST +7.5

Total: 158

Money Line: Illinois Fighting Illini -361/+277

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Notable Injuries

Fighting Illini

  • Amani Hansberry (Questionable) Back

Nittany Lions

  • Kanye Clary (Questionable) Undisclosed
  • Demetrius Lilley (Questionable) Undisclosed

Recent Form

Illinois enters this game as the favorite, which has been a common occurrence for them this season, as they have been favored in 20 of their 25 games. Their record as the favorite is 17-3.

On the road, the Fighting Illini are 5-4 this season, and they have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games away from home. Over their last five road games, they have gone 3-2.

Illinois’ over/under record for the season sits at 17-8 and today’s line of 158 is higher than the average over/under line in their games this year (147.2). So far, 12 of their games have finished with more points than today’s line. Over their last three games, the over/under record is 3-0 and the average scoring total in those games is 165 points.

As the favorite this season, Illinois has gone 10-9-1 vs. the spread. On the road, the Fighting Illini have gone 6-2-1 ATS this season and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 road games. Overall, their ATS record for the year is 13-10-2.

Coming into tonight’s game, Penn State has lost three straight games and is 12-14 overall. So far this season, they have gone 6-9 in Big Ten play and 6-5 in non-conference games. At home, the Nittany Lions are 10-5 compared to 2-9 on the road.

As the underdog, Penn State has gone 6-10 compared to 6-4 when they are favored. On the year, their average scoring margin at home is +8.8 compared to -8.6 on the road. In their last game, the Nittany Lions lost to Nebraska by a score of 68-49.

This season, the over/under record for Penn State games is 15-10-1, and today’s line of 158 is higher than the average over/under line in their games (146.2). So far, 18 of their games have finished with fewer than 158 points, including eight of their last 10 games. Over their last three games, the over/under record is 1-2.

As the underdog, Penn State has an ATS record of 9-7 this season and they are 12-14 overall. At home, the Nittany Lions are 7-8 vs. the spread and they have gone 5-5 ATS in their last 10 home games.


Coming off a good offensive performance, Illinois’ offense scored 85 points against Maryland. Their field goal percentage for the game was 48%, and they went 32/36 from the free-throw line. In terms of offense, the Fighting Illini have a season-long field goal percentage of 46%, putting them 104th in the NCAA. Regarding three-pointers, they are ranked 168th in percentage and 83rd in three-pointers made.

On defense, Illinois is currently around the NCAA average in points allowed, giving up an average of 70.7 points per game. In today’s game, the Illinois defense will be looking to once again do a good job defending the three-point line, as they gave up just 4 three-pointers while giving up 80 points.

In contrast to their season average of 74.8 points per game, Penn State had a below-average performance. They scored 49 points against Nebraska and had a field goal percentage of 33.3%. Currently leading the team in scoring is Kanye Clary, who comes into today’s matchup averaging 16.7. Adrian Baldwin Jr also heads into the game with a PPG average of 14.

So far, the Nittany Lions’ defense is ranked 208th in the country at 73.3 points per contest. So far, the Penn State defense is giving up an average of 9.4 offensive rebounds per game and are turning teams over 10.5 times per game (456th).

Betting Trends

  • Across their last three road contests, Illinois has been good against the spread, posting a mark of 2-1. Their overall mark in these games was 2-1, while averaging 84 points per game.
  • In their last ten games at home, the Nittany Lions have a straight up record of 2-8 while going 5-5 vs the spread. The team’s offense averaged 69 points per game in these contests.
  • Spanning across their last three games as the betting underdog, the Nittany Lions have gone 1-2 vs the spread. Their overall record in these games was 0-3.
  • The last ten games that Illinois was favored, they have an ATS mark of 5-5 while going 8-2 straight up.

Rich Crew’s Total Pick

Take the Under 157.5.

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