Illinois vs Missouri Basketball Prediction & Picks: Will the Illini get the best of the Tigers in St. Louis?

Eddie Griffin

Last year, Illinois ended a three-game losing streak against Missouri with a blowout win. Tonight, they will look to continue a notable trend in the Braggin’ Rights matchup as the #16 Illini (8-3) take on the Tigers (10-1) in their annual showdown at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

Tonight’s matchup is scheduled to tip off at 9:00 pm ET (8:00 pm local time) and will be televised on SEC Network.

Last year, the Illini walloped the Tigers 88-63, picking up their 33rd win in 52 meetings with the Tigers.

The Illini are favored to make it back-to-back wins, and the odds aren’t the only thing in their favor.

What notable trend is likely to continue tonight in St. Louis? Read on for our Illinois vs Missouri prediction, as well as our betting analysis and picks.

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Illinois Fighting Illini vs Missouri Tigers Odds

Game odds are via FanDuel as of Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 5:30 pm ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.

Spread

  • Illinois -6.5 (-110)
  • Missouri +6.5 (-110)

Over/Under

  • Over 152.5 (-115)
  • Under 152.5 (-105)

Moneyline

  • Illinois -295
  • Missouri +235

Shannon, Illinois Set to Sizzle Tonight in St. Louis

With the exception of 1982, Illinois and Missouri have met on the hardwood every year since 1976.

Since the current run of annual matchups started in 1983, the series has been based on streaks.

  • Illinois won eight straight from 1983 to 1990.
  • Missouri won four in a row from 1991 to 1994.
  • The Illini won in 1995 and 1996.
  • The Tigers won three in a row from 1997 to 1999.
  • The Illini won a record nine straight from 2000 to 2008.
  • The Tigers won the next four from 2009 to 2012.
  • The Illini took the next five (2013 to 2017).
  • As mentioned above, the Tigers won three in a row from 2018 to 2020.

So, history is definitely on Illinois’ side tonight.

So is the fact that they are a better team. Missouri has done well in Dennis Gates’ first season in charge, and they were pouring in the points in their 9-0 start. b

But their 95-67 loss to Kansas a dozen days ago showed that the Tigers aren’t quite ready for the big time just yet.

They did bounce back from that loss with a 68-66 win over UCF, and though they didn’t score a lot of points, they shot well overall (23 of 46, 50 percent) and from three (13 of 25, 52 percent).

Notable Numbers for Illinois and Missouri

Illinois

  • PPG: 78.1
  • Points Allowed Per Game: 62.1
  • Offensive Efficiency: 40th
  • Defensive Efficiency: 18th

Missouri

  • PPG: 88.4
  • Points Allowed Per Game: 75.0
  • Offensive Efficiency: 13th
  • Defensive Efficiency: 143rd

More of the same will be needed to take down the Illini who has already shown that they can beat the best of the best if they’re on.

Illinois has three losses already and is 0-2 in the Big Ten after falling to Maryland and Penn State, the latter at home.

But they also have wins over UCLA and Texas, and they are currently projected to be a #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, as per ESPN’s latest Bracketology update.

Leading the way for Illinois is Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr., who is averaging 17.8 PPG. Shannon has scored 16+ points eight times this season, including 29 against UCLA and a season-high 30 against Monmouth.

The one big question mark about the Illini is who the other top option is behind Shannon. They may be averaging 78.1 PPG, but Shannon is their only double-digit scorer.

Last year, they were hamstrung by not consistently having offense beyond big man Kofi Cockburn, and that issue needs to not resurface if the Illini want to reach their high ceiling.

But there is reason for optimism there, as Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer has scored 21, 14, and 21 points in his last three games after averaging only 5.6 PPG in his first eight games.

In the win over Texas, Mayer made all five of his three-point attempts and was 8 of 10 from the field.

Illinois vs Missouri Prediction and Picks

Illinois vs Missouri Prediction: Illinois to win

Illinois vs Missouri Picks: Illinois to cover (Best Value: Illinois -5.5 @ -110 at Caesars Sportsbook) & Illinois/Missouri over (Best Value: over 152.5 @ -115 at FanDuel)

There are questions about whether or not the Illini will hit their ceiling, but they are better and more tested than the Tigers are.

I don’t think they will win by 28 like Kansas did, but I don’t see this one being all that close in the end. Look for Shannon to have a strong showing in St. Louis and for Mayer to continue his recent scoring in a comfortable rivalry win for Brad Underwood’s squad.

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Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and Betting on sports for over a decade. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and Betting on sports for over a decade. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.