I wasn't going to play this game unless it was clear that Iowa star Keegan Murray was playing as he missed the last game with an ankle injury. He is expected to go. Murray averages 24.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg. The Illini remain without a key player in guard Andre Curbelo (9.3 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.3 rpg). Illinois lost its only true road game so far at Marquette, which isn't nearly as good as Iowa.
With the Hawkeyes' best player, Keegan Murray, expected to play Monday, this spread is too low. The Hawkeyes have one of the best offenses in the country. The Illini are not playing elite basketball right now. They are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games. The Hawkeyes are rolling, covering the spread in their last four games. They looked impressive against the top-ranked Purdue Boilermakers in their last game without their best player. Iowa is a much better team and should cover this spread easily.
My model makes Iowa a six-point favorite Monday and it might end up finishing at an even wider margin. Illinois has struggled on the road, owning an 0-3 ATS record, and now the Illini head to Iowa for a Big 10 battle. Iowa has been playing well and will be looking to cover its fifth straight. Lay the points.
Monday is a light schedule in college hoops, but there is a fantastic Big Ten matchup between Iowa and Illinois. Illinois came into the season with high expectations and rose to 10th in the polls. They’ve won four straight after enduring two losses and will be ranked again in a matter of hours. Expect value on Iowa’s side with or without prolific scorer Keegan Murray. The Hawkeyes rank third in the country, scoring 91 point per game, and turn the ball over just 7.25 times per game. Take Iowa.