Thursday College Basketball Betting: Illinois A Healthy Favorite Vs Ohio State

Illinois Fighting Illini guard Andre Curbelo (left) dribbles up court in front of Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Mawot Mag (right) during a Big Ten basketball game
Image Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Thursday college basketball betting slate features just one clash of Top 25 teams, but it’s a big one: No. 22 Ohio State visits No. 15 Illinois in a marquee matchup loaded with Big Ten-title ramifications.

While Ohio State-Illinois is a biggee, it’s hardly the only consequential game on the Thursday college basketball betting board. For example, No. 12 UCLA will be in payback mode at Oregon, as it attempts to avenge last month’s overtime home loss to the Ducks.

And No. 19 Murray State — this year’s small-school darling of college basketball — hosts Belmont in a key rematch between the top two teams from the Ohio Valley Conference. Murray State, which handed Belmont its first conference loss last month, is chasing its first undefeated run through the Ohio Valley since 2015. breaks down the Thursday college basketball betting odds for all three of these important showdowns.

Odds via PointsBet USA and updated as of 3:20 p.m. ET on Feb. 24.

No. 22 Ohio State Vs No. 15 Illinois

Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn prepares to dunk the basketball during a Big Ten game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Image Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Tipoff/TV: 9 p.m. ET/FS1
Ohio State: 17-7 SU (10-5 Big Ten)/13-11 ATS
Illinois: 19-7 SU (12-4 Big Ten)/12-14 ATS
Spread/Total: Illinois -7 (-110)/140.5
Last meeting: Illinois scored a 91-88 overtime victory in the 2021 Big Ten tournament, but failed to over as a 6.5-point favorite (March 14, 2021)
Did you know: Nine of the last 10 head-to-head meetings have been decided by single digits, with an average victory margin of 5.1 points

About Ohio State: The Buckeyes improved to 7-3 SU and ATS in their last 10 games with Monday’s 80-69 overtime triumph over Indiana as a 7-point home favorite. Among Big Ten programs, Ohio State ranks second in field-goal shooting (47.9%), third in blocks (4.8 per game), third in 3-point proficiency (37.4%), and fourth in scoring offense (74.2 ppg).

About Illinois: The Fighting Illini have won six of their last eight games, including Saturday’s 79-74 victory over Michigan State. Illinois cashed as a 2.5-point road chalk in that one, but remains just 3-7 ATS in its last 10. The Illini lead the Big Ten in rebounds (39.7 per game), and rank third in scoring offense (76.0 ppg), fifth in assists (15.7 per contest), and fifth in field-goal shooting (45.5%).

What’s At Stake: With a victory over the Buckeyes, Illinois (12-4) can force a 3-way tie with Purdue and Wisconsin (both 13-4) atop the Big Ten standings. Meanwhile, Ohio State needs a win to to inch closer to securing a top-4 seed/Day 2 bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament. Given their positions in the NCAA’s NET rankings, Illinois (14th) and Ohio State (19th) are both in the running for top-4 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

Players To Watch

Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell reacts with joy during overtime in a Big Ten basketball game against the Indiana Hoosiers
Image Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell leads Ohio State in scoring (19.5 points per game), rebounding (7.6 per game) and blocks (2.5 per game), and ranks second in assists (2.8 per game). The 6-foot-7 junior — who shoots 51 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from 3-point range — has scored in double figures in all 24 games and has posted six double-doubles.

Illinois center Kofi Cockburn is coming off consecutive 20-point games, tallying 20 in last week’s 70-59 loss at Rutgers and 27 in Saturday’s 79-74 win over Michigan State. The 7-foot junior and national player of the year candidate is among the NCAA leaders in scoring (21.7 ppg, tied-7th), rebounds (11.2, tied-6th), field-goal shooting (60.8%, 10th), and double-doubles (14, tied-11th). Like Liddell, Cockburn has scored in double figures in every game, tallying at least 20 points in 12 of 21 contests.

Notable Trends

  • Ohio State is 7-2 ATS in its last nine overall (3-1 ATS on the road)
  • Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in its last six Thursday contests
  • Illinois has followed an 8-2 ATS run with a 3-7 ATS slump
  • Illinois is 1-3 ATS in its last four at home
  • Under is 4-1 in Ohio State’s last five overall
  • Over is 19-7 in Ohio State’s last 26 on the road
  • Over is 8-3-1 in Illinois’ last 12 at home
  • The underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 series meetings (5 outright upsets)

Ohio State Vs Illinois Odds and Action

UPDATE 2:25 PM ET: Illinois, which opened -6 over Ohio State at PointsBet USA, is now up to -7 (-115). Tickets and money are both in favor of the Illini, at 62% and 77%, respectively. The total is up a smidge from an opener of 140 to 140.5, with 61 percent of the bets and 55% of the money on the Over.

No. 12 UCLA Vs Oregon

Oregon Ducks guard Jacob Young (right) rises up to shoot the basketball while being defended by UCLA Bruins guard Jules Bernard (left) during a Pac-12 basketball game
Image Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tipoff/TV: 9:30 p.m. ET/ESPN
UCLA: 20-5 SU (12-4 Pac-12)/13-11-1 ATS
Oregon: 17-10 SU (10-6 Pac-12)/10-17 ATS
Spread/Total: UCLA-3 (-110)/137
Last meeting: Oregon handed UCLA its only home loss of the season last month, prevailing 84-81 in overtime as a 9.5-point road underdog (Jan. 13)
Did you know: Dating back to February 2015, the Ducks have won seven of their last eight home matchups against nationally ranked opponents

About UCLA-Oregon: The Bruins closed out a 3-0 SU and ATS homestand with Monday’s 66-52 win over Arizona State as a 13.5-point favorite. However, now UCLA heads back on the highway, where it has lost three of four both SU and ATS. The Ducks have followed a 10-1 SU run by dropping three of their last four, including Saturday’s 84-81 defeat at No. 3 Arizona. On the bright side, Oregon cashed as a 12.5-point underdog, ending an 0-5 ATS drought. Based on its spot in the NCAA’s NET rankings, UCLA (No. 13) remains in the hunt for a 3- or 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Conversely, Oregon (No. 67 NET) is squarely on the tournament bubble. Among Pac-12 programs, the Bruins rank second in scoring offense (76.6 ppg) and steals (7.0 per game), while the Ducks rank third in steals (6.9 per contest) and fourth in scoring offense (72.4 ppg).

Notable Trends

  • UCLA is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 overall, including 3-0 in its last three
  • UCLA is 2-5-1 ATS in Pac-12 road games
  • Oregon is 1-5 ATS in its last six overall and 1-4 ATS in its last five at home
  • Oregon is 3-0 ATS in its last three as an underdog
  • Under is 8-2 in UCLA’s last 10 road games
  • Over is 15-6 in Oregon’s last 21 overall
  • Oregon is 3-0 ATS in the last three series meetings
  • Over is 8-1 in the last nine head-to-head clashes (5-0 in games at Oregon)

UCLA Vs Oregon Odds and Action

UPDATE 2:25 PM ET: UCLA remains a 3-point road favorite against Oregon at PointsBet USA. The juice has bounced around a bit, going from -3/-105 to -3/-110 and now back to -3/-105. The Bruins are getting 73% of the tickets and 79% of the money. Meanwhile, there’s lopsided action on the total, and it’s seemingly contradictory: The number has dropped from 138 to 137, but 82% of wagers and 84% of cash are on the Over.

Belmont Vs No. 19 Murray State

Murray State Racers forward KJ Williams (right) is congratulated by teammates after a basket during the second half against the Tennessee State Tigers
Image Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tipoff/TV: 9 p.m. ET/ESPNU
Belmont: 24-5 SU (14-2 OVC)/14-13-1 ATS
Murray State: 26-2 SU (16-0 OVC)/15-9-1 ATS
Spread/Total: Murray State -3 (-110)/145
Last meeting: Murray State handed Belmont its only home loss of the season last month, cruising 82-60 as a six-point road underdog (Jan. 15)

About Belmont-Murray State: Belmont enters the Thursday college basketball betting action riding a 10-game winning streak, including Saturday’s 73-62 victory over SIU-Edwardsville. However, the Bruins fell way short as a 21.5-point home favorite, their sixth straight non-cover. Murray State’s ongoing 16-game winning streak hasn’t been all blowouts. On Saturday, the Racers squeaked out a 62-60 victory over Tennessee-Martin, never threatening to cash as a 16.5-point road favorite. Among Ohio Valley Conference programs, Belmont (80.4 ppg, 12th nationally) and Murray State (79.8 ppg, 20th nationally) rank 1-2 in scoring offense. Murray State rates first in rebounds (39.0 per game). Murray State, which is 27th in the NCAA NET rankings, leads Belmont by two games in the OVC standings. So the Racers would clinch the outright regular-season title with a victory tonight.

Notable Trends

  • Belmont is mired in an 0-6 ATS slump (all as a favorite)
  • Belmont is 2-1 SU/ATS as an underdog this season
  • Murray State is 2-3-1 ATS in its last six overall
  • Murray State is 7-1-1 ATS in its last nine at home
  • Under is 10-4 in Murray State’s last 14 overall
  • Under is 5-1 in Belmont’s last six overall
  • Murray State is 5-2 ATS in the last seven head-to-head meetings
  • Under is 8-3 in the last 11 series clashes

Belmont Vs Murray State Odds and Action

UPDATE 2:25 PM ET: PointsBet USA has moved from its opening line of Murray State -3.5 to -3, even though the Racers are catching all the action with 82% of spread tickets and 65% of spread dollars. The total is up to 145 from an opener of 144.5, and once again bettors are hammering the Over, which is catching 75% of the wagers and 72% of the money.