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Picks, predictions for Rutgers vs. Illinois on Saturday, February 11

The Illini will hit the floor for the first time in a week for a home contest against top-25 Rutgers.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights will hit the road for a Big Ten showdown with the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday afternoon. The game will get started at 2:00 p.m. ET from State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois, and you can watch it on FS1.

I went into the weekend going 8-3-1 in my last 12 college hoops picks against the spread. Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.

Rutgers vs. Illinois odds

Spread: Illinois -5.5
Over/Under: 135
Moneyline: Illinois -230, Rutgers +195

Illinois (16-7, 7-5 Big Ten) had its game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers postponed earlier this week due to COVID issues on the Minnesota roster. The Fighting Illini haven’t played since Saturday when they went on the road and lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes 81-79. Four Illinois players scored in double figures including Matthew Mayer, who led the team with 21 points, knocking down 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc. The Illini rate inside the top 20 in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency, though they’re outside the top 50 on the offensive end.

Rutgers (16-8, 8-5 Big Ten) returned to the top 25 this week, but the Scarlet Knights lost 66-60 to the Indiana Hoosiers on the road Tuesday night. They played their first game without Mawot Mag, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Rutgers is about as one-sided as a team can get with a defense that rates second in adjusted defensive efficiency, though it checks in at 123rd offensively.

The Pick: Illinois -5.5

The Illini should be eager to get back on their home floor after stewing over a close road loss last week, while Rutgers is still dealing with the absence of Mag. He averaged 24.7 minutes per game, and this is not a very deep Scarlet Knights roster. Rutgers is a defensive-led team, and losing one of its top defenders will be too much to overcome till the team starts to adjust.