Notre Dame vs Illinois Picks and Predictions: Fade Fighting Illini Squad Battling Injuries

Battling a number of key injuries, the Fighting Illini host the Fighting Irish tonight as small 5-point favorites. However, the injuries might make this a task too tall. Find out in our college basketball betting picks for Notre Dame vs. Illinois.

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2021 2:34 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Prentiss Hubb Notre Dame Fighting Irish college basketball
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The ACC/Big Ten challenge tips off on Monday night with the No. 15 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini hosting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

These programs have faced off twice since 2015 with the Fighting Irish winning as favorites on both occasions but college basketball betting lines have Illinois installed as 5-point chalk this time around.

Here are our best free Notre Dame vs. Illinois picks and predictions for NCAA basketball action on Monday, November 29, with tipoff at 9 p.m. ET. 

Notre Dame vs Illinois odds

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

Illinois opened as a 6.5-point favorite for this contest with the Over/Under at 142. Early money has come in on Notre Dame and the Under, dropping the line to Illinois -5 and the total to 138.5. As of noon ET some books have this line as low as Illinois -4. 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.

Notre Dame vs Illinois predictions

Predictions made on 11/29/2021 at 12:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Notre Dame vs Illinois game info

Location: State Farm Cente, Champaign, IL
Date: Monday, November 29, 2021
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET

Notre Dame at Illinois betting preview


Notre Dame: Robby Carmody G (Out).
Illinois: Trent Frazier G (Questionable), Jacob Grandison G (Questionable), Andre Curbelo G (Questionable), Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk F (Out).

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Fighting Irish are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600. Find more NCAA betting trends for Notre Dame vs. Illinois.

Notre Dame vs Illinois 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.

Notre Dame opened its season with unimpressive victories over CSU-Northridge and High-Point before falling to Saint Mary's in the Maui Invitational. The Fighting Irish bounced back from that defeat with a 26-point victory (and their first cover of the season) against tiny Chaminade before losing 73-67 to Texas A&M in their previous game last Wednesday.

Illinois opened their year with a pair of easy wins against overmatched foes before dropping back-to-back games against Marquette and Cincinnati. The loss to Marquette was a close back-and-forth battle but the defeat against Cincinnati was an embarrassing display where the Illini shot 28 percent from the field and lost by 20 points despite entering as double-digit faves. They have since won their last two games, defeating Kansas State before pulling away from Texas Rio Grande Valley in the second half last Friday.

They were missing three of their top players in that contest against Texas Rio, with Trent Frazier, Jacob Grandison, and Andre Curbelo all sidelined by various ailments. Frazier is a four-year starter who was a Big Ten All-Defensive Team member last year, Curbelo was named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year as a freshman and leads the team in assists, and Grandison is third on the team with 10.8 ppg on 54/46/83 shooting. All three of those guards are listed as questionable and according to Jon Rothstein of CBS sports are "highly unlikely" to play tonight. 

That puts a ton of pressure on big man Kofi Cockburn and guard Alfonso Plummer to carry Illinois. That will make it very tough to cover this spread against an experienced Notre Dame squad that has four players scoring in double-digits and ranks 19th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom. 

Prediction: Notre Dame +5 (-110)

Illinois could really struggle to initiate their offense without those three key backcourt players but coach Brad Underwood's squad is usually able to lock down on the defensive end of the floor.

The Illini are holding opponents to just 39.4 percent shooting from the field and despite Notre Dame's efficiency rating, the Irish haven't always found their shooting stroke. The Irish rank outside the Top-250 with a field goal percentage of just 40.6 and they shot 40 percent or less from the field against High-Point, Saint Mary's, and Texas A&M. 

Combine that with a slow-paced Notre Dame offense that doesn't shoot well from beyond the arc, and you have all the ingredients for an Under.

Prediction: Under 138.5 (-110)

The total has plummeted since opening at 142 but we still like the Under. Keep in mind that both of these schools have only found offensive success this season when playing against smaller programs.

Notre Dame had sluggish low-scoring games against Saint Mary's and Texas A&M, while Illinois had low-tempo contests against Kansas State, Cincinnati, and Marquette which all saw 136 points or fewer scored.

With the injuries to three of the Illini's top ball-handlers and shot creators, another poor shooting performance from either or both teams seems likely.  

Pick: Under 138.5 (-110)

College basketball parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Notre Dame vs. Illinois 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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