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How and what to watch for No. 6 Illinois vs. No. 10 Duke

In what might be the most exciting game of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Illinois heads to Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood talks with guard Andre Curbelo and guard Ayo Dosunmu in the second half against the Baylor Bears at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

In what might be the best game of the ACC/Big Ten challenge, the No. 6 Illinois Fighting Illini will head on the road to take on the 10th-ranked Duke Blue Devils on Tuesday night.

Illinois won its first two games of the season by 62 points against North Carolina A&T and a 59-point victory over Chicago State. Yikes. Since then, the Fighting Illini barely survived Ohio by two points and got beat by 13 against Baylor in their last time out for a 3-1 record so far this season. In the limited sample size, Ayo Dosunmu is leading Illinois with 23.8 points per game with 7.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He scored 18 in the loss to Baylor but shot just 6 of 18 from the floor.

As for the Duke Blue Devils, their only loss came in the Champions Classic to the Michigan State Spartans 75-69 on Dec. 1. Duke has a 10-point win over Coppin State to begin the season, as well as a 76-54 victory over Bellarmine their last time out for a 2-1 record. Matthew Hurt leads the Blue Devils in scoring with 19 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and freshman Jalen Johnson has been fun to watch, averaging 13 points and 8.7 rebounds, though he is turning the ball over four times per game.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Illinois vs. Duke on Tuesday, December 8th at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, or you can watch via WatchESPN with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Illinois vs. Duke (-4)
Point Total: 146.5
Money line: Illinois (+155) vs. Duke (-182)

Betting Splits On Spread

Illinois: (80% of action, 70% of bets)
Duke: (20% of action, 30% of bets)

  • Illinois is 2-5 against the spread in its last seven games, and Duke has the same record against the spread in that span.
  • The point total went over in five of Illinois’ last six games, and and Duke hit the over in 13 of its last 19.
  • Duke is 4-1 straight up in its last five games, and Illinois is 8-2 in its last 10.

The Best Bet

I cannot in good faith bet on Duke to lose two non-conference games at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the span of one week, so we’re going to go with the Blue Devils to win this game and cover. While Duke hasn’t been excellent in its start to the season, the Illini haven’t looked particularly good either in their last two games against better competition. Let’s ride with the Dukies at home.

Pick: Duke -4

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