NCAA College Basketball Preview: Baylor Bears vs. Illinois Fighting Illini – Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

The Illinois Fighting Illini will take on the Baylor Bears Wednesday in a matchup of two top-5 teams in the nation. The tip is at 10 pm ET, and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN from Indianapolis.

The two teams are a combined 5-0 heading into week two. Illinois received a much need four-day break after playing three games in the first three days of the season. Baylor is playing on two days rest after trouncing the Washington Huskies by 34 points on Sunday afternoon.

Illinois Betting Preview: A Surprising Young Warrior

Illinois is predictably being led by Ayo Dosunmu but what is somewhat surprising is the play of freshman guard Adam Miller. Miller, the No. 29 prospect in the 2020 class, is averaging 18 points per game and shooting a blistering 47.1% from behind the three-point line to start the season.

Similar to last season, the Illini are starting the 2020-21 season as a force on the offensive glass. Brad Underwood’s team was ranked 11th in the nation last season in offensive rebounding percentage and ranks first in the nation through their first three games this year.

A huge part of their success on the offensive glass is sophomore big man Kofi Cockburn who is averaging nearly 12 rebounds per game, with over three of those on the offensive glass.

Baylor Betting Preview: Out of Hibernation

It didn’t take long for Scott Drew’s Bears to wake from their offseason slumber as they have thumped their first two opponents by an average of 32 points per game. The Bears are without star defensive big man Freddie Gillespie (graduation) this season and were expecting Tristan Clark to be a factor. Unfortunately, chronic knee issues forced Clarke to end his career.

Fortunately for Coach Drew, Jonathan Tchamwa-Tchatchoua and Flo Thamba have stepped up and provided a solid frontcourt presence thus far. Aside from the question marks at the pivot, the continuity within the Baylor program is fantastic. All-American candidate Jared Butler is back running the show along with Mark Vital, Davion Mitchell, and MaCio Teague.

Illinois vs. Baylor Betting Odds & Lines

Bovada has this spread at Baylor (-5.5). This was also the opening line among all available establishments and has yet to move. While it is still early, Illinois is 2-1 ATS thus far, while Baylor is a perfect 2-0. The Bears have beaten the spread by an average of 15.8 points in their first two games this season.

Free Betting Pick

In this fantastic early-season matchup, it is difficult to justify going one way or the other. Both teams have experience, talent, and are fantastic defensively.

The factor that should be leaned upon here is coaching, and Scott Drew seems to always be extremely underrated. Baylor is mostly the same team as last season, who won many close games on their way to a 26-4 record. The Bears win the game, but Illinois and that defense will cover the spread.

Spooky Express Free Pick: Illinois +5.5

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