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College Basketball Betting Picks and Predictions: Missouri Tigers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini - Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

December 22, 2022

A pretty good battle is on tap when the Missouri Tigers take on the 16th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini Thursday evening inside Enterprise Center at St. Louis, MO. Tip-off is slated for 9 pm.Missouri Tigers Betting PreviewThe Tigers (10-1) have had an outstanding season to date and would love to gain a win over a ranked opponent. The Tigers had a chance to pull off an upset two games ago, but fell to 6th-ranked Kanasa, 95-67. They did, however, bounce back from that loss and went on to defeat UCF, 68-66, in a game that was a little too close for comfort. They escaped with a win thanks to the heroics of DeAndre Gholston who nailed a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift them to the win at the Orange Bowl Hoops Classic. It was a great shot and showed the young man's hustle in the process. With just under ten ticks left, his teammate D'Moi Hodge went up and grabbed a rebound on the defensive end of the floor. He pushed the ball up the flow and was able to pass off to his teammate as he was falling to the floor and Gholston nailed the shot in dramatic fashion. Against the Fighting Illini, the Tigers will need some of that magic to pull off the upset against one of the more rounded teams in the country. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting PreviewIllinois (8-3) does not have the record that the Tigers have, but they are ranked and got an easy win over Alabama A&M, 68-47, the last time they stepped out on the floor. They got a brilliant game from Matthew Mayer who ripped the nets for 21 points to go along with seven boards, a pair of steals and three blocks. Plus, he shot 3-of-6 from three-point land. Terrence Shannon Jr. also had a solid game as he added 18 points and shot close to 43% from the floor in the win. Illinois is 2-2 against To-20 teams and had two big wins -- one against UCLA and the other against Texas. But they came back down to life after that win, and were upset by Penn State, before rebounding for the easy win over A&M. As long as they play defense and do not let Hodge and Gholston do damage they should be able to win this game. They shoot pretty well from beyond the arc as a team, averaging around 35% from that range, which is not that bad. Game Odds, Series Trends and Free PickIllinois is favored by 5 1/2 points and the total is sitting at 153 points. We do like the total and that is certainly in play. We think that the Tigers need to score at least 75-80 plus to win this game. Illinois is 5-5 against the number and 3-2 in their last five games. They are also 2-3 in their last five games against the spread and 1-1 in their road games against the spread. The totals have gone over in one of their last five. The Tigers enter this game having won four of their last five and are 3-2 in their last five games against the spread and 2-0 on the road against the spreadThe Tigers in an upset. Take Missouri and the 5 1/2 points.Persian's Pick: Missouri Tigers -5.5