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Picks, predictions for Northwestern vs. Illinois on Thursday, February 23

The Illini are home favorites over the Wildcats on Thursday night.

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

The No. 21 Northwestern Wildcats will travel to play the Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday night from State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois. The game will get started at 9:00 p.m. ET and can be seen on BTN.

All six college hoops I gave out on Wednesday night cashed, so let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.

Northwestern vs. Illinois odds

Spread: Illinois -5.5
Over/Under: 136
Moneyline: Illinois -230, Northwestern +195

Northwestern (20-7, 11-5 Big Ten) will bring a five-game winning streak into Thursday night’s matchup, coming off an 80-60 home win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. Boo Buie scored a game-high 23 points with eight assists and four rebounds in the victory. Sixth man Julian Roper II missed the last five games with an ankle injury. The Wildcats rate 42nd overall in KenPom including 22nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and 101st on the offensive end.

Illinois (18-9, 9-7 Big Ten) ended a two-game losing skid with a 78-69 home win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Monday night. Matthew Mayer had a big game with 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting with seven rebounds in the victory. Leading scorer Terrence Shannon Jr. missed the last two games with a concussion, and his status for this matchup is uncertain. The Illini rate 28th overall in KenPom, including 29th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 50th offensively.

The Pick: Northwestern +5.5

The Illini needed to make up the game against Minnesota, so this will be their third game since Saturday. With their best player still getting back into the swing of things if he’s even available, let’s go with the Wildcats, which have been very good away from home. Northwestern is 6-2 straight up and against the spread in road games this season.