Houston Cougars vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

by | Mar 20, 2022 | cbb

Houston Cougars (30-5 SU, 23-12-0 ATS) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (23-9 SU, 13-19-0 ATS)
When: Sunday March 20 2022, 12:10 PM PM (ET)
Where: CONSOL Energy Center

Point Spread: Houston -4.5/Illinois +4.5 (MyBookie)
Total: 133.5
Money Line: Cougars -196/Illinois +160

Key Injuries

Houston
Tramon Mark: Shoulder (OUT)
Marcus Sasser: Toe (OUT)
Kiyron Powell: Redshirt (OUT)

Illinois
Austin Hutcherson: Hernia (OUT)

Recent Form

The Houston Cougars come into this matchup with an overall record of 30-5. On the season, the Cougars have performed well in their 14 non-conference games, posting a record of 12-2. In addition to their strong non-conference record, Houston has played well on neutral courts, going 7-1. Heading into this matchup, the Cougars are looking to stay hot, as they try to add to their current four game win streak.

The Illinois Fighting Illini get set to host the Cougars with an overall record of 23-9. On the season, the Fighting Illini have performed well in their 11 non-conference games, posting a record of 8-3. In addition to their strong non-conference record, Illinois has a good record at neutral sites. Through 5 games, the Fighting Illini are 3-2. Over their last 5 games, they have played above .500 basketball, holding a record of 4-1.

For the season, the Houston Cougars are averaging 76.0 points per game, good for a rank of 39th in the NCAA. Defensively, they are the 4th ranked team, giving up just 59 points per contest. On the other side, the Illinois Fighting Illini are the 50th ranked scoring offense, averaging 75.1 points per game, while giving up 67.2

Efficiency Outlook

Houston comes into this matchup as the more efficient scoring team. In these games, the Cougars have a record of 30-5 on an average scoring margin of 17.0. Even though Illinois trails Houston on the offensive end of the court, they enter this game holding the edge on defense. So far, the Fighting Illini are 22-6 with an edge in defensive efficiency. In these games, they hold an average scoring margin of 9.0.

On the season, the Cougars have been a balanced scoring unit, with 31.8% of their scoring coming from made three-pointers. So far, the Fighting Illini have turned to the three-point shot for a larger portion of their scoring than Houston. For the season, Illinois has scored 36.1% of their points from outside.

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Betting Trends Worth Noting

  • Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
  • Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a favorite.
  • Fighting Illini are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
  • Fighting Illini are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.

Joe’s Pick Against the Spread

Illinois is one of my least favorite teams to bet on as they’re wildly unpredictable. I can’t get past the huge difference in strength of schedule though. The Fighting Illini played WAY better teams this season and that matters! I’m betting on Illinois and taking those juicy 4.5 points!