Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.
Illinois vs. Ohio State odds
Spread: Illinois -4.5
Moneyline: Illinois -190, Ohio State +160
Illinois (19-9, 10-7 Big Ten) got senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (17.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg) after a two-game injury stint in their 66-62 win over Northwestern on Saturday. Illinois was down 37-19 at halftime, but staged a furious rally capped in the final minutes to hold off the NCAA Tournament-bound Wildcats.
The Illini all season have struggled from three-point range (31.4% as a team), but can defend at an elite level with an opponent eFG% of 45.8. When they’re scoring the ball, they can compete with the best teams in the Big Ten.
Ohio State (11-17, 3-14 Big Ten) have lost nine in a row, and forward Zed Key likely won’t be available for the rest of the season after having missed the last two games (at Purdue and home to Penn State). It’s been a full-on disaster for a Buckeyes team that was tapped to in the mix to compete for the conference title, but after a 2-0 start in league play they’ve only managed one more win.
The Pick Illinois -4.5
You simply can’t trust Ohio State to do anything correctly on defense, and now with Key on the shelf there’s just about nothing to play for. Meanwhile Illinois is looking for every positive datapoint they can post, as they’re a projected No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament presently.
One team is still competing in 2023 and got their best player back, while another is playing out the string and is without their, ahem, Key guy. This feels like an easy spot at even higher than 4.5.