Penn State vs. Illinois odds, line: 2020 college basketball picks, Feb. 18 predictions by model on 54-30 run

The Illinois Fighting Illini (16-9, 8-6) will visit the Penn State Nittany Lions (20-5, 10-4) in an intriguing Big Ten battle on Tuesday evening. Penn State enters on an eight-game winning streak, while Illinois comes in on a four-game losing skid. Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu is questionable to play with an ankle injury. 

Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m. ET at Bryce Jordan Center. Sportsbooks list the Nittany Lions as 6.5-point home favorites, holding steady from the opener, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 139.5 in the latest Illinois vs. Penn State odds. Before making any Penn State vs. Illinois picks or college basketball predictions, see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has crushed its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread the past three years, returning $2,770 to $100 players. It also entered Week 16 of the 2019-20 season on a 54-30 run on all top-rated college basketball picks. Anybody who followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Penn State vs. Illinois. You can visit SportsLine now to see its picks. Here are the college basketball lines and trends for Illinois vs. Penn State:

  • Illinois vs. Penn State spread: Penn State -6.5
  • Illinois vs. Penn State over-under: 139.5 points
  • Illinois vs. Penn State money line: Penn State -290, Illinois +230
  • Illini: The Fighting Illini are 4-3 against the spread in the last seven games
  • PSU: The Nittany Lions are 16-8-1 against the spread this season

Why Illinois can cover

The model has considered that Illinois has strengths to build on, including the fact that the visitors boast an above-average offense. Illinois is an elite offensive rebounding team, grabbing 36.3 percent of their own misses this season, and that is an area in which Penn State could be vulnerable. 

On the other end, Illinois is also strong, keeping opponents off the free-throw line at an impressive rate. When Penn State does create free-throw attempts, the Nittany Lions struggle to convert them, making less than 70 percent, and Illinois is exceptional at closing possessions with defensive rebounding.

Why Penn State can cover

Even so, the there’s no guarantee the Illini will cover the Penn State vs. Illinois spread. The model also has considered that the Nittany Lions have been stelar on both ends of the floor this season, Penn State’s defense should have the opportunity to feast on an Illinois team that ranks outside the top 200 in the country in shooting efficiency.

Illinois is also one of the shakier 3-point shooting teams in the country, making only 30.4 percent of its long-range offerings. Offensively, Penn State is elite at taking care of the ball, and Illinois struggles to create turnovers. That should allow the home team to maintain its top-20 offensive efficiency in this matchup, especially if senior forward Lamar Stevens continues his season-long brilliance. 

How to make Penn State vs. Illinois picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total, with Stevens and Illinois center Kofi Cockburn both projected to outperform their scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread hits in almost 60 percent of simulations.

So who wins Illinois vs. Penn State? And which side of the spread hits in almost 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Penn State vs. Illinois spread you need to jump on Tuesday, all from the model that has crushed its college basketball picks, and find out. 

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