Back Illinois -11 vs. Missouri In Braggin' Rights Series

Jeff Grant

Saturday, December 20, 2014 1:03 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 1:03 PM GMT

Illinois is one of the best shooting teams in the country, which makes it a playable betting favorite against Missouri in the 34th edition of the Bud Light Braggin’ Rights.

Setting the Stage
Illinois owns a 21-12 SU advantage over Missouri in the annual rivalry game played in downtown St. Louis, which is important to consider when looking over the college basketball odds, as it has won four of seven meetings when neither team is ranked in the series.

The Fighting Illini are the only team from the six major conferences that over the course of 14 consecutive games this season will play 10 games away from its home arena, with this action stretching from Nov. 27-Jan. 14.

It’s important to point out that the squad has gone 9-2-1 ATS in its last 12 neutral site affairs.


Inconsistent Play 
Missouri has alternated wins and losses over its last four games, which can’t be ignored when making your college basketball predictions, as it looks to bounce back from a 74-58 defeat to the Xavier Musketeers as 5.5-point home underdogs last Saturday.

The Tigers will need a major performance from forward Johnathan Williams III, as he’s scored in double figures in eight of 10 games this season, while also enters as the top rebounder at 7.6 boards a contest.


Shooting the Lights Out
The Fighting Illini rank 20th nationally in averaging 79.4 points per game, which has been made possible by having six different players lead the team in scoring thus far, while leading all teams in knocking down 78 percent of their free-throw attempts.

Illinois welcomed back 58.8 percent of its scoring from a season ago, while it has compiled a 34-2 SU record when shooting the same or better percentage from the field than its opponent under head coach John Groce.


Guard Play
The Tigers have some capable guards in Montaque Gill-Caesar and Keith Shamburger, who have combined to average 21.2 points and accounted for 36 of the squad’s 103 overall assists.

Gill-Caesar is the main player to watch on the perimeter in this rivalry game, as he’s one of just two freshmen in the SEC to currently rank among the conference’s top 25 scorers.


Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Fighting Illini as one of their NCAAB picks, as they’ve covered the number in seven of their last 10 games versus Southeastern Conference opponents.


Free NCAA Basketball Pick:  Illinois Fighting Illini -11 at Bookmaker

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