Illinois vs Northwestern Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for February 23 (Fighting Illini's Defense Shines in Victory)

Illinois vs Northwestern Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for February 23 (Fighting Illini's Defense Shines in Victory)


Illinois vs Northwestern Game Info

  • 2022-23 NCAA Basketball Regular Season Game
  • Illinois (18-9, 9-7 Big Ten) vs. No. 21 Northwestern (20-7, 11-5 Big Ten)
  • Date: Thursday, February 23, 2023
  • Time: 9:00 PM ET
  • Venue: State Farm Center -- Champaign, Illinois
  • Coverage: BTN

The 2022-23 college basketball season continues on Thursday with an exciting matchup between the No. 21 Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois Fighting Illini. Northwestern enters on a five-game winning streak that includes victories over two ranked programs in No. 5 Purdue and No. 17 Indiana.

Meanwhile, Illinois took care of business in a 78-69 win over Minnesota on Monday to stay over the .500 mark in Big Ten play. All five starters scored in double digits for the Fighting Illini, led by the efforts of Matthew Meyer (22 points & 7 rebounds). Which squad will keep momentum rolling tonight?

Illinois vs Northwestern Odds & Spread

Illinois enters this contest as a notable home favorite on the moneyline and spread per FanDuel Sportsbook's odds. This 9 p.m. ET clash also features an over/under of 136.5 points, which is about average compared to Thursday's projected totals.

Illinois vs Northwestern Betting Trends

  • Illinois has covered the spread 17 times in 27 games.
  • As 5.5-point favorites or more, the Fighting Illini are 10-6 against the spread.
  • Out of 27 Illinois' games so far this season, 12 have gone over the total.
  • Northwestern has covered the spread 17 times in 27 games.
  • As 5.5-point underdogs or more, the Wildcats are 5-1 against the spread.
  • Out of Northwestern's 27 games so far this year, 10 have gone over the total.
Illinois Rank Illinois AVG Northwestern AVG Northwestern Rank
105th 75.0 Points Scored 68.5 264th
60th 65.4 Points Allowed 61.9 17th
18th 36.0 Rebounds 32.0 167th
40th 10.3 Off. Rebounds 8.6 186th
120th 7.9 3pt Made 7.6 156th
200th 12.9 Assists 13.3 166th
253rd 12.7 Turnovers 9.3 8th

Illinois vs Northwestern Prediction & Pick

There's no denying that Northwestern has outperformed expectations, while Illinois has failed to live up to the hype. However, the Fighting Illini are better than their record indicates. This is a team that outranks the Wildcats in offensive efficiency and checks in two spots back in defensive efficiency.

Both of these squads rely on elite defense to get the job done, which should lead to a low-scoring battle. That gives an edge to Illinois considering this game is being played in Champaign. The Fighting Illini have posted a stellar 13-2 home record and allow only 60.4 points per home game this season.

Illinois has also won eight of its last nine games against Northwestern, so back the Fighting Illini here.

Final Score Prediction: Illinois: 68 | Northwestern: 65

Illinois vs Northwestern Best Bet

As mentioned above, Illinois and Northwestern are each known for its defensive efforts and not for its offensive efforts. The Wildcats are averaging only 68.5 points per game (T-No. 232 in NCAA) and the Fighting Illini are shooting 31.5% from three-point range (No. 305 in NCAA). It's been less than ideal.

The total has hit the under in each of Northwestern's last six games overall as well as in each of its last nine games in February. The under has also cashed in six of Illinois' last nine games overall and in each of its last five games against Northwestern. Trust the trends and back a low-scoring contest.

Bet: Under 136.5 Points (-112)

Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.