Illinois vs Marquette Picks and Predictions: Fighting Illini Too Deep For Golden Eagles

Both Illinois and Marquette are 2-0 but the Fighting Illini have looked far more impressive in doing so. The Big Ten power is a big college basketball betting road favorite tonight — and we like them to deliver in the opening of the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

Jason Radowitz - Contributor at
Nov 15, 2021 • 09:22 ET • 4 min read
Trent Frazier Illinois Fighting Illini college basketball
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois Fighting Illini will travel to Milwaukee to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles tonight in the first of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual cross-conference showdown between schools from the Big East and Big Ten.

Illinois won its first two games of the season by an average of 30.5 points, while Marquette is also 2-0 but hasn’t looked nearly as good in those wins — resulting in college basketball betting lines having the home side as an 8.5-point underdog.

Here are our best free college basketball picks and predictions for Illinois vs. Marquette on Monday, November 15. 

Illinois vs Marquette odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Illinois opened as an 8.5-point favorite and the spread hasn't moved since. The total has also stayed steady at 143.5, although there are a couple of books that have moved the line down to 143 or even 142.5. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Illinois vs Marquette predictions

Predictions made on 11/15/2021 at 8:14 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Illinois vs Marquette game info

Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Date: Monday, November 15, 2021
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

Illinois at Marquette betting preview


Illinois: Kofi Cockburn C (Out), Austin Hutcherson G (Questionable).
Marquette: Greg Elliott G (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Fighting Illini are 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Find more NCAA betting trends for Illinois vs. Marquette.

Illinois vs Marquette picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Illinois looks incredible to start the season, but while powerful wins over Jacksonville State and Arkansas State look nice, the Fighting Illini will finally get their first real test of the season.

Illinois lost key players from last season in Ayo Dosunmu, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, and Adam Miller, but it does have plenty of solid returners — headlined by Kofi Cockburn, who will sit out tonight as the third leg of a three-game suspension.

Once Cockburn is back, the starting lineup for the Illini is full of returning players but for now, Illinois has decided to start Florida transfer Omar Payne in Cockburn's place. That could change, however, as Payne fouled out in six minutes against Arkansas State (that's extremely hard to do), which led to Alfonso Plummer — a Utah transfer — getting most of the starter minutes and being ineffective in shooting just 30 percent from the field.

This team has room to grow, however: Right now Illinois only has seven or eight reliable players but could work that rotation up to 10 by the time conference play picks up.

On the other hand, Marquette, as stated above, struggled in its first two games of the season against mediocre competition. Unlike Illinois, the Golden Eagles don't show the same potential for a deep bench. In their most recent game against New Hampshire, the rotation went 10 deep but only four players played more than 20 minutes.

Former Maryland guard Darryl Morsell scored 26 in that game and figures to be the main man on offense. However, outside of Justin Lewis, this team is struggling to shoot the ball. Marquette is using 13.2 seconds per possession, which is currently fourth in the nation. If that continues, along with poor shooting (42.6% from the field, 26.4% from three), Marquette is going to run itself out of the game.

Therefore, we’ll take Illinois laying the points in a fast-paced matchup.

Prediction: Illinois -8.5 (-110)

Marquette is only shooting 26.4 percent from deep after going up against two greatly inferior teams, in terms of skill and athleticism. The offense should start to come along eventually, however, and the threes will start to drop — we're expecting Marquette to at least shoot 30 percent from downtown with plenty of attempts.

However, tonight Illinois will bang a bunch of threes and it dominates the offensive glass as well. The Fighting Illini are going to have one of the better defenses in the country, but knowing that this game is going to be a bit more up-tempo, we like the Over to hit.

Prediction: Over 142.5 (-110)

When you look at the body of work to start the season, Illinois has played like a top-tier team. Meanwhile, Marquette is still trying to find its way. With just two returners and plenty of newcomers, the Golden Eagles have a lot to figure out yet.

Marquette will be fine, but right now there’s just no way we’ll be putting money on a team that struggled to fight off New Hampshire in its own gym.

Illinois is putting in work, without arguably its best player — that’s how deep and good of a team the Fighting Illini are this year, as the rebounding and defense is already at a high level without Cockburn.

Pick: Illinois -8.5 (-110)

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Did you know that if you parlayed our Illinois vs. Marquette picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

Use our college basketball parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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