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Illinois Fighting Illini at Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Pick - Thursday March 5, 2020

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/05/2020

The Big Ten Conference is the best league in the country this season, with at least 10 teams expected to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The standings seem to change every night as teams continue to jockey for playoff seeding in the conference tournament. The Ohio State Buckeyes will host the Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday night in a game that will definitely play a role in how the tournament plays out.

Both teams will have a game on Sunday before they turn their attention to this showdown. Illinois enters the weekend with a conference record of 10-6, which has them in a tie for second place. Ohio State has gone just 9-8 so far in Big Ten play, but they have been hot of late. The Buckeyes are still a lock to make the NCAA Tournament that will tip off in less than three weeks.

Ohio State Can Really Defend

The Ohio State Buckeyes have stayed afloat this season due to the strength of their defense. Even when the Buckeyes were struggling to make shots or win games, they continued to play defense at a high level. Ohio State is allowing just 62.3 points per game this season, which puts them in the top-20 the world of college basketball. The Buckeyes will be ready to defend a great Illini offense in this game.

Ohio State is led by an All Big Ten center, but the key to their season comes down to making shots. The Buckeyes are scoring just 72.0 points per game, but they have been making more shots of late. CJ Walker and Andre Wesson have the ability to space the floor, which will give Kaleb Wesson some room to operate. Kaleb Wesson leads the team with 14.0 points per game, and is one of the best low post threats in the league.

Dosunmu, Cockburn Carrying Illini

Illinois is led by the dynamic duo of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn. Dosunmu has been unstoppable since suffering an injury against Michigan State, and leads the team with 16.4 points per game, and makes all the big shots for this team. Kofi Cockburn is a dominant presence in the paint, and continues to rack up double-doubles. The Fighting Illini have some other important pieces, but Cockburn and Dosunmu lead the way.

 Illinois comes into this game averaging 72.5 points per game, while giving up 64.7 points per game on the defensive side of things. Those numbers both improve when they head on the road, and that could be a huge key in this game. Illinois continues to pick up solid road wins, and they will have the confidence to pull off another upset in this game.

 Buckeyes Too Tough at Home

Both Ohio State and Illinois are two of the hottest teams in the Big Ten Conference, and both teams should make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Life on the road has not been kind to Big Ten teams this season, but that hasn’t been the case with the Illinois Fighting Illini. Illinois has all the tools to win this game, but they are facing a team playing with a ton of confidence.

Ohio State has been a hard team to figure out this season, but it looks like they are starting to play great again. The Buckeyes are climbing up the Big Ten Conference standings, and will be looking to gain momentum heading into March. Ohio State will have to shoot the ball well to win this game, but that is exactly what is going to happen.

We are taking the Ohio State Buckeyes over the Illinois Fighting Illini in this one, at our favorite pay per head bookie site Realbookies.com.

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