The No. 10 team in the Big Ten challenges the second-best team in the conference on Thursday night. This is the first time Penn State faces Illinois in the regular season. Although this matchup looks lopsided when we look at the stats alone, there are several areas of the game that are anticipated to light up the court. The Nittany Lions look much better with three wins in five games with the Fighting Illini sharing the same record in their last five contests.
Nitrobetting gets close to the Penn State vs Illinois game details in this preview. Find team and player stats, the latest NCAAB betting odds,trends, and Penn State vs Illinois predictions down below.
Penn State vs. Illinois Game Information
Why Bet on Penn State Nittany Lions?
The Nittany Lions are at the end of a 23-point defeat in the hands of Nebraska. It’s been a while since Penn State won a road game, and this is the second to the last chance for the side to get one before the regular season ends.
Penn State is expected to go hard on the defensive side. Overall, the team allows 65.7 points (59th) per game. The team focuses on shooting defense, particularly within the perimeter. They do hold teams to 41.5% shooting but are superior short and mid-range defenders with an average of 45.3% opponent two-point shooting (19th). Despite recording a 35.5% three-point percentage, the Nittany Lions managed to maintain a 48.3% opponent field goal percentage (95th).
The visitors struggle offensively. The Nittany Lions only average 65.3 points (286th) per game on 43.7% shooting. They do better from long range with a 34.7% average but have work to do when making two-point shots at 50.3%. Ultimately, the team’s effective field goal percentage sits at 51.1% (129th).
Why Bet on Illinois Fighting Illini?
The Fighting Illini will miss the services of Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk on Thursday. The forward is recovering from a concussion that rules him out of the game. He joins R.J. Melendez (appendix) and Austin Hutcherson (hernia) in Illinois’ injury report. Nevertheless, the hosts have a healthy core lineup leading up to the game.
Illinois shines on offense and defense. The former features a 76.9 average in 28 games played and is 53.9% from the field (32nd). The Illini hits 52.8% of its two-point shots (52nd) and 36.9% from deep (43rd). We also see consistent ball movement from the squad with 15.5 assists per game average since starting the season. Furthermore, the Fighting Illini’s 10.0 offensive rebounds per game averages allow the team to find more second-chance points along the way.
Defensively, the host records an impressive 46.0% opponent field goal average. This is the 27th-best record in the league and highlights how Illini protects the floor. The numbers are backed by a 45.1% opponent two-point (17th) and a 32.1% opponent three-point (93rd) percentage.
Penn State vs. Illinois Betting Trends
- Penn State is 3-2 in its last five games (3-2 ATS).
- Penn State is 3-2 in its last five games against Illinois (4-1 ATS).
- The totals have gone over in two of Penn State’s last five games against Illinois.
- Illinois is 6-4 in its last ten home games against Penn State (7-3 ATS).
- Illinois is 3-2 in its last five games at State Farm Center (1-4 ATS).
- The totals have gone under in two of Illinois’ last five games.
Penn State vs. Illinois Expert Betting Predictions
Penn State needs to put its best foot forward to bridge the gap. Playing on the road alone is a challenge for the team. However, the odds and recent results suggest that the team can do enough to cover the spread. Winning the game is not impossible, but the road to a victory is filled with struggle. Meanwhile, Illinois looked confident ahead of the game. Having a better overall record and more consistent results draw all eyes to Illinois. Homecourt advantage adds to their benefit as well seeing how the team excels in front of their home crowd. Ultimately, we are excited to see how both teams handle the pressure in this Penn State vs Illinois matchup.
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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.