Illinois vs Texas Odds, Picks and Predictions: Stout Defenses Square Off

Texas will put its undefeated record on the line against Illinois. Both programs have very strong defenses, and our college basketball betting picks expect that to be the biggest story tonight — keeping this game tight knit and low scoring.

Last Updated: Dec 6, 2022 11:29 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Tyrese Hunter Texas Longhorns NCAA College Basketball
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The No. 2 ranked Texas Longhorns host the No. 17 Illinois Fighting Illini in the first game of the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night. This should be an entertaining battle between a pair of ranked schools, with the Illini looking to bounce back from a defeat and hand the Longhorns their first loss of the year.

College basketball odds opened with the Longhorns installed as 4-point favorites for this contest at Madison Square Garden in New York, but the spread has slimmed to -2.5. Here are my free Illinois vs. Texas college basketball betting picks and predictions for December 6. 

Illinois vs Texas best odds

Illinois vs Texas picks and predictions

Both of these schools have been terrific defensively, with Texas third in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom, and Illinois 12th. 

Chris Beard-coached squads are known for their defensive play, and this Longhorns team are coming off an outstanding performance against Creighton, where they limited the normally sharp-shooting Bluejays to 4 of 27 shooting from beyond the arc. That was the third-straight Texas game where the Under cashed.

The Under is 3-1 in the Illini's last four games, and they're coming off a road contest against another defensively formidable opponent where they were held to 5-for-20 shooting from deep.  

Both of these defenses do a terrific job of forcing turnovers, with Texas ninth in the country in opponent turnovers per game and Illinois 21st. While the Longhorns do a solid job of taking care of the ball, that could lead to offensive problems for a new-look Illini lineup that ranks outside the Top 200 in turnover rate.

Texas' biggest issue on offense has been its ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc — shooting just 28.9% from long range.

With Illinois turning the ball over and the Longhorns struggling to hit shots from the perimeter — combined with the defensive prowess of both sides — I'm taking the Under. 

My best bet: Under 141.5 (-110 at bet365)

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Illinois vs Texas spread analysis

Illinois is coming off a 71-66 road loss to No. 13 Maryland, dropping to 6-2 straight up (5-3 ATS). That said, both of its defeats came against unbeaten teams (also losing to No. 3 Virginia) and also has an impressive 79-70 victory against UCLA on its resume. 

The Fighting Illini won the Big 12 championship last season but had to replace all five starters. Head coach Brad Underwood replenished his roster with the 10th-best recruiting class in the country and three impact transfers — none more important than Terrence Shannon Jr.

Shannon used to play under Beard at Texas Tech, leading Illinois with 19.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while ranking second with 3.5 assists per game. The Illini also have a deep bench and have been excellent on the boards, ranking 21st in the country in rebounding rate. 

The Longhorns are a perfect 6-0 after beating Creighton 72-67 last Thursday. In their most impressive performance of the year, they shot 52% from the floor to clobber Gonzaga by almost 20 points in Austin on November 16.

They bolstered their roster with some key transfers, including Tyrese Hunter, who leads the school with 16 ppg on 54/37/92 shooting. Interestingly enough, last season's leading scorer Timmy Allen is just sixth on the team in scoring this year, and five-star recruit Dillon Mitchell has been a contributor but has yet to take the next step.

Illinois vs Texas Over/Under analysis

Both of these schools have been efficient from the field this season, with Texas 26th in the country in field goal percentage (48.7%) and Illinois 45th (48%). However, we've seen the Illini have a tough time knocking down shots against defensively stingy teams like Virginia and Maryland. 

Now they face an extremely tough Texas defense that does an excellent job of preventing dribble penetration and open looks on kick-out shots. The Longhorns rank fifth in the nation in defensive efficiency (allowing 75.9 points per 100 possessions) and their frustrating system has forced opponents into an average length of possession of 18.2 seconds. 

The Illini are also very strong on the defensive end of the floor, sitting just one spot behind Texas in defensive efficiency (81 points per 100 possessions) while ranking 14th in opponent effective field goal percentage (42.4%).

They will be easily the best defensive team the Longhorns have faced this season since both Gonzaga and Creighton rank outside the Top 140 schools in opponent EFG%.

Illinois vs Texas betting trend to know

The Under is 6-1 in the Fighting Illini's last seven games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600. Find more College basketball betting trends for Illinois vs. Texas.

Illinois vs Texas game info

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

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