Tuesday’s college basketball odds board is stuffed with attractive matchups, including in the Jimmy V Classic. Let’s dig into No. 2 Texas against No. 17 Illinois for my college basketball best bets.
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Texas vs. Illinois: Spread, Moneyline, Total
Both programs reside in the top 20 of my college basketball power rankings. Be sure to subscribe to Outside Shots on TheLines Podcast Network, as Scott Phillips and I break down everything college hoops betting, including this contest.
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Just How Good Are The Longhorns?
I invested in Texas +3500 national title futures in the offseason. Needless to say, I’m bullish on the Longhorns’ long-term prospects.
They’re unsurprisingly anchored by Chris Beard’s no-middle defense, surrendering 0.76 PPP — good for the fifth-best ranking across DI. But after opponents have shot just 23.5% from behind the arc, they’re due for negative regression. For reference, Beard’s structure is positioned to limit dribble penetration, allowing cleaner perimeter looks in the process.
Enter Illinois, which boasts a top-65 scoring rate from the perimeter. After losing Kofi Cockburn to the pros, Brad Underwood has shifted to a five-out offense. Coleman Hawkins’ development has been essential in that regard, as the 6-foot-10 big showcases a 37.0% 3-point clip to date.
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Texas Tech transfer Terrance Shannon Jr., who played for Beard during their time together in Lubbock, has also refined his shooting efficiency with the Illini. Health is a big reason why, as he dealt with nagging back and knee injuries in 2021-22. Shannon is KenPom’s sixth-rated player thus far — behind only Zach Edey, Jalen Wilson, Drew Timme, Marcus Sasser, and Adama Sanogo.
Moreover, Illinois presents a top-100 ShotQuality PPP on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Predictably, that’s Texas’ biggest defensive liability.
If Underwood’s bunch cuts down on turnovers, helping contain the Longhorns’ explosive transition attack, it should hang within a possession at the least. Expect a motivated effort from Illinois at Madison Square Garden after losing its Big Ten opener at Maryland, too.
College Basketball Best Bets Conclusion
If you’ve enabled notifications in our Discord betting channel, you’ll see my Illini +3.5 bet. I’d bet them down to +3. Good luck on your own college basketball best bets.
Eli’s Bet: Illinois +3.5 (-110)
Best Available Line: Illinois
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