Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Pick 12/6/21
Illinois Fighting Illini (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS)
When: Monday, December 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
Point Spread: ILL +2.5/IOWA -2.5 (BetNow - These guys offer the BEST bonus on the web! You can deposit $100 to $1000 and they’ll match you dollar for dollar with a 100% REAL CASH bonus!)
Moneyline: ILL +125/IOWA -155
Last Time Out:
Illinois crushed Rutgers 86-51; Iowa lost 77-70 to Purdue.
About the Matchup:
Illinois has been rolling through the Big Ten ever since last year, and the win over what’s supposed to be a decent Rutgers squad says that the Illini are still going to be a factor in this league yet again. The Illini enter this game having won nine straight Big Ten games, but that string might be in jeopardy against an Iowa squad that has won six straight at Carver-Hawkeye and just gave new No. 1 Purdue everything it wanted in West Lafayette.
Not only has Iowa been getting wins at home, but the Hawkeyes are scoring like nobody’s business, averaging 97 points per game in Iowa City. That’s a product of the quality of opposition the Hawkeyes have faced to this point, but it’s also a product of the fact that Iowa plays fast and doesn’t make mistakes when it has the ball. The Hawkeyes only turn the ball over one out of every nine trips down the floor, one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. With Illinois only averaging 77 points per game, the Fighting Illini are going to have to get things figured out on defense to come out of eastern Iowa with the cover.
Scouting the Fighting Illini:
The biggest difference for the Illini between the two early games that they lost to Marquette and Cincinnati is that Kofi Cockburn is now back in the lineup after the early season suspension. The Fighting Illini are just a different team with the big man in the lineup, hardly a surprise given that Cockburn has averaged 24 points and 10.5 rebounds a game since rejoining the lineup.
Beyond him, Illinois has found a solid replacement for Ayo Dosunmu in Alfonso Plummer, who’s hitting 42 percent of his shots from beyond the perimeter and has hit close to 50 percent in the past five Illini games. That’s not a coincidence, as, with Cockburn in the interior, teams have to give up decent looks on the 3-point arc to Plummer to try to keep the big man from taking over the game. Plummer’s connecting on his shots, which has made Illinois incredibly dangerous.
Scouting the Hawkeyes:
Iowa could really use an easy night after facing Virginia and Purdue, but it’s just not going to happen in the Big Ten. The good news for the Hawkeyes is that at least they’ll be able to run the way they typically like to because Illinois will be much more willing to play the speed game that Iowa loves and Purdue and Virginia hate. Iowa was able to speed up Virginia pretty well, scoring 75 points in a one-point escape, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t do the same to the much more talented Boilermakers, who frustrated Iowa for 30 minutes before a furious comeback made the score respectable.
That’s the thing to know about Iowa: this team can score so quickly that it is never out of a game and can turn a game on a dime. Keegan Murray has become the new dominant force inside for the Hawks, averaging 24.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in replacing Luka Garza. But the Hawkeyes still aren’t able to stop teams all that well, which leads to them trying to outscore everyone as opposed to locking down.
Illinois will Cover If: The Illini can dominate on the interior. Iowa doesn’t rebound the ball all that well but does play a game that leads to a ton of shots, which means that if you’re able to grab the ball inside, you can cut off the Hawkeyes’ attempts to get 70 looks at the basket. Illinois does have the best rebounder on the floor in this game, and Cockburn’s play will be critical here.
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Iowa will Cover If: The Hawkeyes can hit their shots early. Iowa has shown that it can grind games if it has to, but it’s much more comfortable when it gets going early and can force teams to play faster than they prefer. A few early baskets will have this game right where Iowa likes it.
Dan’s Best Prop Bets
The total has topped this number in the past three meetings between these teams, and Iowa should be ready to run after having to try to solve the Purdue puzzle in the paint last time out. Look for the Hawkeyes to push the tempo early and make a run at getting this game into the 80s.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Iowa has been excellent at home, and Illinois has really struggled with this trip up I-74. The home team has covered in six of the past seven matchups between the Mississippi River rivals, and I think Iowa is in a position to pull off another one. I’ll take the Hawkeyes to cover. Bankroll need a boost? Check out our comprehensive list of sportsbooks bonuses from the best betting sites on the web!
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