The Missouri Tigers (10-2) and the Illinois Fighting Illini (8-5) square off at Scottrade Center. The Over/Under (O/U) for the game opened at 149 points with Missouri set as a 4-point favorite. Action begins at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 23, 2017, and it can be seen on ESPN2.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Missouri Tigers ATS Preview
In the Fighting Illini’s last matchup, they lost to the New Mexico State Aggies, 74-69. Illinois Leron Black put together a good performance, leading the team in scoring with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. New Mexico State had a better effective field goal percentage (0.556 vs. 0.484). Illinois, meanwhile, had a better free throw rate (0.145 vs. 0.063).
The Tigers hope to maintain momentum after barely hanging on to beat the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in their last outing, 82-81. Missouri received a boost from Jordan Barnett, who put up 22 points and six rebounds. The Tigers knocked down 23 of their 27 free throws (85.2 percent) and had an effective field goal percentage of 0.686 (above their season average of 0.574).
The game should be a matchup of strength against strength as the productive offense of Missouri (27th in the NCAA with an offensive efficiency of 117.7) takes on the stingy defense of Illinois (46th in the nation with a defensive efficiency of 94.0). It will also be a tale of two tempos as the up-and-down Fighting Illini rank 35th in possessions per game, while the more half-court oriented Tigers rank 288th.
Of Illinois 10 games with betting action, seven have finished under the O/U total, while 5 of Missouri’s 10 games have finished over the projected point total. Looking at straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records, the Tigers have a significant advantage. They are 10-2 SU and 6-5 ATS, while the Fighting Illini are 8-5 SU and 5-5 ATS.
Barnett has really been playing well over the last five games for Missouri, averaging 18.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
This will be the first matchup of the year between these two teams, after the Fighting Illini won the sole game last season, 75-66. The Fighting Illini dominated nearly every stat category in the game. They had a fantastic free throw rate of 0.408 and a great effective field goal percentage of 0.561. For those same stats, the Tigers were 0.262 and 0.410, respectively.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Missouri Tigers Betting Prediction
Predictions: SU Winner – Missouri, ATS Winner – Illinois, O/U – Under
- The Tigers rank 35th in rebounds per game (39.8) while the Fighting Illini rank 89th (37.6).
- Missouri ranks 44th in assists per game (16.6) while Illinois ranks 83rd (15.2).
- Missouri ranks 37th in blocks per game (5.2) while Illinois ranks 186th (1.9).
- The Fighting Illini rank 12th in three pointers allowed per game (16.8) while the Tigers rank 141st (22.3).
- Illinois ranks 41st in steals per game (8.0) while Missouri ranks 127th (6.2).
- Missouri is 1-4 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Illinois is 2-3 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs.
- The Tigers average margin of victory in their last five games has been 16.0, up from 13.9 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Fighting Illini have scored an average of 79.6 points per game (2.9 below their season average) and allowed an average of 71.4 points per game (0.6 above their season average).