Illinois vs Tennessee Odds
Saturday, Dec. 9
12 p.m. ET
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Illinois Fighting Illini are coming off of massive wins over Rutgers on the road and Florida Atlantic at Madison Square Garden. This is probably the best this program has looked since Kofi Cockburn put on an Illinois jersey.
However, this team still has its concerns and has a tough matchup on Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers on the road.
Tennessee desperately needs this win. It’s dropped three games to top-15 KenPom teams — Purdue, Kansas and North Carolina. The Vols have an early-season win over Wisconsin, but the offense has sputtered.
These are two of the best defenses in the country, and despite their fast paces, they should be on track for a pretty messy game. Here’s Illinois vs. Tennessee odds and a pick, including a college basketball betting guide for Saturday, Dec. 9.
The Illini rank 69th in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom. They average 16.9 seconds per possession on offense and 16.6 seconds per possession on defense. They rank 29th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and 11th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
However, this team has a horrid time with turnovers. As talented as they are, the Illini don’t have a true floor general, and this has bitten them, in particular against Marquette. The Illini rank 211th in offensive turnover rate and 337th in defensive turnover rate.
To put it simply, they’ll rarely win the turnover battle.
Tennessee, however, only ranks 119th in defensive turnover rate. Even if the Vols turn over the Illini, Tennessee ranks 325th in points per possession in transition, per Shot Quality.
The Illini also can’t get to the free-throw line. Outside of Terrence Shannon Jr., no one draws contact on this team, leading to a collective free-throw attempt rate ranked 301st.
The Illini also shoot 62.5% from the strike as a team. Yes, the last two games have looked better, but this is still a concern.
Tennessee is not without its own issues. The Vols rank 81st in 3-point attempt rate while shooting 33.2% from deep.
Dalton Knecht and Josiah-Jordan James have been the Vols’ deep threats, but Illinois is limiting the opposition to under 30% from 3-point land. The Illini are locking down the arc, allowing the 17th-lowest 3-point attempt rate defensively. Tennessee ranks 116th in Open 3 Rate while Illinois ranks 59th defensively.
So, if Illinois is not allowing Tennessee to take 3s, the Vols will have to drive the ball. Well, they’re only shooting 51% from 2-point range.
Illinois is incredible at guarding the interior. The Illini rank first in 2-point percentage against (38.2%). They maintain the second-best Rim-and-3 Rate defensively, per Shot Quality, while the Vols rank 276th on offense.
Coleman Hawkins will be a tough defensive test for Tennessee, unless he gets into foul trouble.
Finally, Tennessee greatly struggles with crashing the glass. It ranks 56th in defensive rebounding rate, though, so this will cut into Illinois’ second chances — the Illini rank 47th offensively.
However, the Vols can’t crash on the offensive end (219th), while the Illini rank 32nd in rebounding rate defensively. This means each team will likely only get one shot opportunity each time down the floor.
This will be a defensive matchup. Illinois is not the most efficient offense, and Tennessee is unbearably inconsistent.
We’re looking at two of the best defenses in the country. Each has the ability to negate the other team’s offensive strengths.
Neither team can make it to the foul line, so this may not be a looming factor in the total.
Play this under from 145.5 to 142.
Pick: Under 145.5 (Play to 142)
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