The 19th-ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights will look to stay unbeaten when they battle the 13th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini in a key early-season Big Ten battle on Sunday. The Scarlet Knights (5-0) are ranked in The Associated Press top 20 for the first time since 1979 and are 4-0 at home. The Fighting Illini (5-2) are facing their fourth ranked team this year. Illinois defeated No. 21 Duke 83-68, but lost to second-ranked Baylor 82-69 and No. 16 Missouri 81-78.
Tip-off from Rutgers Athletic Center is set for 1 p.m. ET. Illinois leads the all-time series 8-2, but Rutgers posted a 72-57 home win on Feb. 15, 2020, the last time the teams met. The Fighting Illini are 1.5-point favorites in the latest Illinois vs. Rutgers odds, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 141.5. Before making any Rutgers vs. Illinois picks, check out the college basketball predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of almost $2,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. It’s also off to a fast start in the 2020-21 season, going 8-4 on all its top-rated picks and returning well over $300. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Illinois vs. Rutgers spread: Illinois -1.5
- Illinois vs. Rutgers over-under: 141.5 points
- Illinois vs. Rutgers money line: Illinois -122, Rutgers +102
- ILL: Leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 53.7, 3-point percentage (43.2) and rebound margin (plus 17)
- RUT: Has a plus 0.6 turnover margin on the season
What you need to know about Illinois
The Fighting Illini have won two of three, and are led by junior guard Ayo Dosunmu. He leads the team with a 22.7 scoring average, hitting 51.3 percent of his shots from the floor, including 37.5 percent from 3-point range. He is also averaging 7.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 0.9 steals per game. He is knocking down 80 percent of his free throws, and is on the Wooden Award, Bob Cousy Award and Naismith Trophy watch lists. He is also a member of the preseason AP All-America Team.
Also leading the Illini is sophomore center Kofi Cockburn, a member of the preseason All-Big Ten Team. In 24 minutes per game, he is averaging 16.7 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, and is hitting 68.3 percent of his shots from the floor. He was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Big Ten Newcomer of the Year last season. He was second on the team and 13th in the Big Ten in scoring at 13.3 points per game in 2019-20.
What you need to know about Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights have won all five of their games by double digits, the first time they have done that to start a season since 1934-35. Junior guard Ron Harper Jr. has set the pace for Rutgers, leading the team in scoring at 23.2 points per game, second-best in the Big Ten and 11th nationally. He is also averaging seven rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.8 blocks per game. He is hitting 60 percent of his field goals, including 50 percent of his 3-pointers.
Also powering the Scarlet Knights is senior guard Jacob Young, who is averaging 15 points, 2.8 rebounds, six assists and three steals per game. He is hitting 46.8 percent of his shots from the floor and 70.6 percent of his free throws. His best game was a 24-point performance in a 96-75 win over Farleigh-Dickinson on Nov. 27. He also scored 18 points and dished out 10 assists in a 79-69 win over Syracuse on Dec. 8. Young led the Big Ten in assists (six) and steals (three) per game in 2019-20.
How to make Rutgers vs. Illinois picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total, with 10 total players projected to score in double figures. The model also says one side of the spread hits in over 60 percent of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Illinois vs. Rutgers? And which side of the spread is hitting in over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Rutgers vs. Illinois spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.