Rutgers vs. Illinois Prediction, Odds, Key Players for Sunday, Jan. 21

Odds, key players, and best bet prediction for Sunday Big Ten college basketball action between Rutgers and Illinois.

Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33)
Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Illinois is fresh off an 88-73 win against Michigan and will now host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who are hoping they found some momentum after taking down Nebraska in a thrilling 87-82 overtime victory.

Before its win against Michigan, Rutgers has struggled in Big Ten action, going 2-4 in its first six conference games. Its defense has been dominant, but poor shooting has led to issues being able to close games out.

Can the Fighting Illini avoid disaster against the Scarlet Knights? Let's find out what the oddsmakers think.

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Rutgers vs. Illinois odds, spread, and total

Rutgers vs. Illinois betting trends

  • The UNDER is 12-5 in Rutgers' last 17 games
  • Illinois is 4-1 straight up and ATS in last five games vs. Rutgers
  • Rutgers is 0-7 straight up in its last seven games played at Illinois
  • Illinois is 11-1-1 ATS in its last 13 games
  • The OVER is 6-1 in Illinois' last seven games

Rutgers vs. Illinois how to watch

  • Date: Sunday, January 21
  • Game Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: State Farm Center
  • How to Watch (TV): BTN
  • Rutgers Record: 10-7 (2-4 in Big Ten)
  • Illinois Record: 13-4 (4-2 in Big Ten)

Rutgers vs. Illinois key players to watch


Aundre Hyatt: Rutgets needs to get some offensive momentum and that starts with forward Aundre Hyatt, who, despite being the leading scorer on the team with 12.3 points per game, is shooting just 39% from the field. If he can crank those numbers up and Rutgers can get its offense going, the Scarlet Knights could turn into a scary team to face.


Terrence Shannon Jr.: The best player for Illinois had missed six games this season due to being suspended from the team from rape charges in an incident that allegedly occurred in Kansas. A federal judge on Friday granted Shannon Jr. a request for a temporary restraining order which has allowed him to return to the team. He is expected to come off the bench today in his first game back on the court.

Rutgers vs. Illinois prediction and pick

Rutgers offense is atrocious this season, entering the game ranking 350th out of 362 teams in effective field goal percentage. Now, they have to hit the road to take on an Illinois team that has been shooting the lights out, ranking 62nd in that stat.

The advantage Rutgers has over the majority of its opponents it how good it plays defensively, ranking seventh in the country in defensive efficiency. The Scarlet Knights' only have a tiny edge in that area against a Fighting Illini team that's 25th in that metric.

It's also worth noting that Rutgers' defense seemingly doesn't travel. Its opponent's effective field goal percentage raises from 42.6% at home up to 49.6% on the road.

I'll back Illinois to win big on Sunday afternoon.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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