Penn State vs Illinois Basketball Prediction & Picks (2023 Big Ten Tournament)
Penn State can all but punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament tonight with a Big Ten Tournament win over Illinois (6:30 pm ET, BTN).
The tenth-seeded Nittany Lions (19-12, 10-10 Big Ten) are seeking their first March Madness berth since 2011. They enter today as one of the last teams in the field at both ESPN and CBS Sports.
But they can move themselves off of the March Madness bubble for once and for all, barring a wild run of upsets around the country, if they beat the seventh-seeded Illini (20-11, 11-9 Big Ten).
Will Jalen Pickett and the Nittany Lions secure their spot tonight? Read on for our Penn State vs Illinois basketball prediction and picks for this evening’s matchup at the United Center in Chicago.
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Penn State vs Illinois Odds
Odds are via FanDuel as of Thursday, March 9, 2023.
- Penn State +2.5 (-110)
- Illinois -2.5 (-110)
- Over 139.5 (-115)
- Under 139.5 (-105)
- Penn State +114
- Illinois -137
Will Penn State Complete the Season Sweep of Illinois?
Things are trending up for Penn State because they finished the regular season with five wins in their last six games, three of which were Quad 1 wins.
The win that started this run was a 93-81 home win over Illinois on Valentine’s Day, which followed PSU’s 74-59 win in Champaign on December 10.
Pulling off the season sweep will almost certainly end Penn State’s March Madness drought, and if they can hit the 70-point mark, they are likely to get that momentous win.
The Nittany Lions have scored 70 or more points 16 times this season. In those 16 games, they are 14-2 SU and 11-4-1 ATS.
On the other side, the Illini have given up 70 or more points 14 times this season. In those 14 games, they are 4-10 SU and 5-9 ATS.
Provided there isn’t any wild line movement, this will be the ninth time this season that the Illini close as a favorite by five or fewer points. In the first eight games, they are 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS, including last month’s loss at Penn State as a 3.5-point favorite.
Penn State hasn’t had a lot of success as an underdog this season, going 4-8 SU. But half of those wins are against Illinois, and they are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog.
Penn State vs Illinois Prediction and Picks
Nittany Lions vs Illini Prediction: Penn State to win
Nittany Lions vs Illini Picks: Penn State ML (Best Value: BetRivers) & Penn State team total over 69.5 (Best Value: Caesars Sportsbook)