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Illinois vs. Wisconsin Sportsbook Preview


The Wisconsin Badgers have been burying their backers lately with an 0-5-1 ATS record heading into tonight’s home tilt against Illinois.

The Badgers ATS freefall has also coincided with a six-game losing streak that has them in jeopardy of missing their first NCAA tournament since 1998, before the Bo Ryan era.

If Wisconsin (12-9) has any hope of reaching their goal, they must begin a long winning streak and start tonight against the surprising Fighting Illini (18-4).

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Illinois was ranked well behind Wisconsin in the pre-season polls and expected to finish in the middle of this mediocre conference. However, an easy pre-season schedule got them off to an 11-1 start and gave confidence to their younger players.

Illinois’ Big Ten season has seen more of the same with the team going 6-3 in conference play, but with a worrying trend is developing. Illinois is 5-0 at home in conference and has done a good job beating up on the lesser teams.

However, the road has proved far more difficult for the Illini, losing their last three at Minnesota, Michigan State and Michigan, going 1-2 ATS. The Minnesota game was particularly embarrassing as they managed just 36 points while giving up 59. That’s a big reason they’re underdogs in Badgerland despite beating them 64-57 victory as seven-point chalk on their home court.

The key question in this game is whether Wisconsin will be able to score against this suffocating defense. The Badgers only score 66 PPG which is 8th in the conference, while Illinois’ 57.7 points allowed leads the Big Ten by almost four points per game.

Wisconsin is missing a dominant player like they’ve had in the past with Alando Tucker and Devin Harris. The Badgers do have solid veteran players like Marcus Landry, Trevon Hughes and Joe Krabbenhoft, but none can take over late in the game, which used to be this team’s hallmark.

Another issue for this Wisconsin team is they have lost their invincibility at home. They’ve lost three games at the Kohl Center this year, including their last two to Purdue and Minnesota as favorites. Conference foes used to be scared of playing in front of the crazy Madison fans, but no longer.

A reason to like Illinois tonight is that the visitor is 7-3-1 ATS on the road in this series. One thing for sure, you can expect a very low scoring contest and it should come down to the late stages with both teams having a chance to win.


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