Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Picks

December 6, 2020

Date:Tuesday, December 8th
Time:9:30 PM ET
Network:ESPN
Venue:Cameron Indoor
Spread:Duke -4
O/U:147.5

The 3-1 Illinois Fighting Illini will go on the road Tuesday night to face off with the 2-1 Duke Blue Devils at 9:30 PM ET in Cameron Indoor. You can tune into the showdown on ESPN as the nightcap of three remarkable games. The Blue Devils come in as four-point home favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points with a 147.5 over/under. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my NCAAB Picks and Predictions for the upcoming week of games.

Trends

  • Fighting Illini are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Tuesday games.
  • Blue Devils are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Tuesday games.
  • Over is 6-1-1 in Fighting Illini last 8 overall.
  • Over is 5-0 in Blue Devils last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.

When The Illinois Fighting Illini Have The Ball

The Fighting Illini started the season with three comfortable victories before losing to the first-ranked Baylor Bears in their last game. It was a close game throughout before the Bears pulled away late. The Fighting Illini are an experienced group led by one of the best guards in the country in Ayo Dosunmu (23.8 pts, 7.3 reb, 6.3 ast). He can do it all and is one of the best players in the entire country. Seven-foot sophomore Kofi Cockburn is looking to take a big step after a promising freshman and has put up 13 points and 10 boards per game to this point.

Freshman Adam Miller has been a huge surprise for Illinois as the second-leading scorer (14.5 PPG) through four games. Andre Curbelo is another freshman that has been phenomenal off the bench and he could take over for Trent Frazier before long. This team is a lot better offensively than expected if the pair can continue to play like this. Illinois must step up in a big way as a team on the road against Duke to have any chance to win this game.

When The Duke Blue Devils Have The Ball

The Blue Devils are an entirely different team every year and this season is no different. Sophomore PF Matthew Hurt has taken over as the team’s primary scorer, averaging 19 points and 8.7 rebounds per game to this point. Freshman SF Jalen Johnson has taken himself out of a couple of games with foul trouble but is elite when in the ballgame. He put up 19 points and 19 rebounds in the opener, so the upside is obviously there and he just has to find the rhythm.

Point guard D.J. Steward (11.3 pts, 4.7 reb, 3.3 ast) was another top-20 recruit in this class and he’s been solid through four games, though he must do a better job of taking care of the ball with two turnovers per game. Sophomore Wendell Moore Jr. has been ice cold to start the season, but he put up seven points and four rebounds per game as a freshman and is expected to take a leap. They will need his effort against an Illinois team ripe with talent.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Illinois +4

I like the experience to prevail in this one as Duke seems to have a lot going wrong to start the season. Jalen Johnson can’t stay in the ballgame, Wendell Moore Jr. can’t hit a shot, and the offense has turned the ball over a ton. The Fighting Illini are a team that will not shoot themselves in the foot and they will be an excellent team on the road. Andre Curbelo will continue to pick up substantial minutes and he looks like a big upgrade. I like Illinois to keep this game close and possibly win it. I’ll take the four points, but like getting some exposure to the money line as well.

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Over 147.5
Final Score Prediction: Illinois 75, Duke 73

Neither of these defenses have been great to start the season and I expect that trend to continue here. Both teams have gotten into foul trouble in recent games and will be looking to avoid doing so here. Both sides of the ball have also been a bit cold from outside, which will not continue forever. Both teams rank in the top-50 for pace and this number is simply too low. Give me the over here, though I would prefer betting the spread.

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