Handicapper likes Illinois over Missouri today

9:47 AM, Dec 22, 2012   |    comments
Photo by: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
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(KSDK Sports) -- Within the world of USA Today Sports, of which KSDK Sports is apart, our friend Mitch at SportsChatPlace.com makes it his business to provide information that the "betting" sport fan would need if that was your inclination. 

In doing so, he makes what he calls his "dog of the day" pick and today his "dog" is the Missouri - Illinois game.  Also of note, if you visit his site, (link above), watch his video commentary.  He has a few interesting comments about Missouri head coach Frank Haith.

Here is Mitch's preview:

The Missouri Tigers and the Illinois Fighting Illini face off on the hardwood on Saturday in a college basketball rivalry game.

The Missouri Tigers have won their last five games in a row and are ranked 12th in the nation but Frank Haith's team still has plenty to prove this season after last year's early exit from the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri lost ther In only previous game against an opponent ranked in the top 25, Louisville, and they are 2-1 in neutral site games. As a team Missouri is averaging 77.8 points, 14.4 assists, and they are shooting 45.6 percent while defensively they are allowing 60.6 points, 10.4 assists, and their opponents are shooting 35.8 percent.

Lawrence Bowers is averaging 16.3 points and 6.4 rebounds, Phil Pressey is averaging 12.3 points and 5.8 assists, and Alex Oriakhi is averaging 10.6 points and 8.6 rebounds. This is one of three remaining games for Mizzou before they start their SEC schedule.

The Illinois Fighting Illini are ranked 10th in the nation and are unbeaten thus far this year. John Groce is in his first year as head Coach at Illinois and thus far it would be tough to find much fault with the job he has done.

Illinois is averaging 76.9 points, 12 assists, and they are shooting 45.4 percent while defensively they are allowing 62.6 points, 11.6 assists, and their opponents are shooting 40.6 percent.

Brandon Paul is averaging 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, D.J. Richardson is averaging 11.5 points and 4.6 rebounds, and Tracy Abrams is averaging 11.5 points. Illinois had a big drop off in the second half of last season and they will look to avoid the same fate this year.

Missouri is 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 neutral site games, 5-2 against the spread following a win by more than 20 points, and they are 14-6-2 against the spread against a team with a winning percentage higher than .600. Illinois is 5-2 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 7-15 against the spread in their last 22 neutral site games, and 5-1 against the spread against the SEC.

Illinois is battle tested and the better team here and the Illini should win outright but take the points if you must.


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