Illinois Michigan State Basketball Odds
The No. 13 Michigan State Spartans (17-4, 6-2 Big Ten) host the Illinois Fighting Illini (15-6, 2-5 Big Ten) on Thursday, January 31st. This huge conference clash will be nationally televised on ESPN at 7:00 EST Thursday night. Oddsmakers have posted an early line of Michigan State -9.5 over Illinois.
Why Michigan State Covers
The Spartans are clearly one of the best teams in the country with a 17-4 start to the season. All four of their losses have come on the road this season, but that won’t be a factor considering they will be playing at home Thursday night.
Michigan State is a perfect 12-0 at home this season. It is scoring 71.4 points per game at home this year while allowing only 54.2 points per game. As you can see, it is outscoring opponents by an average of 17.2 points per game in East Lansing this year.
Freshman guard Gary Harris is really coming into his own of late. He scored 21 points while connecting on five three-pointers in a 70-75 loss at Indiana on Sunday. That was an impressive loss to say the least considering Indiana is considered one of the better teams in the land.
Illinois is really in a funk right now. The Illini have lost four of their last five games overall, including ugly home losses to Michigan (60-74), Northwestern (54-68), and Minnesota (67-84). Throw in their 51-74 loss at Wisconsin, and the Illini have lost four of their last five games all by 14 points or more.
The home team has won five straight meetings in this series. Michigan State is 5-0 in its last five home meetings with Illinois. It has limited the Illini to only 55.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting in those five contests.
Why Illinois Covers
Sure, the Illini have struggled of late, but that gets factored into the odds as well. Now, the books are asking Michigan State to win by double-digits to beat you if you bet Illinois, so the value certainly could be with the road underdog in this one.
Remember, this is the same Illinois team that beat Ohio State, Gonzaga and Butler all by double-digits en route to its 13-1 start. Take a look at the AP Poll and you will find all three of those powerhouses ranked inside the Top 11.
Each of Michigan State’s last five wins has come by 10 points or less. That 10-point victory was a home win over Nebraska, which is far from impressive. So, of their six conference wins, only one has come by more than 10 points.
This has been a very closely-contested series throughout the year. In fact, all 10 meetings dating back to 2007 have been decided by 10 points or less. That makes it real tempting to grab the points on the road underdog Illini in this one.
Illinois is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 meetings with Michigan State. The underdog is 5-1-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The Illini are 6-2-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings in Michigan St.