Illinois Fighting Illini at Duke Blue Devils – December 8

No. 6 Illinois (3-1) at No. 10 Duke (2-1)


Duke owns a 5-2 lead in the series although the teams haven’t faced off since 2007. The Blue Devils are 19-2 in the 21-year history of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge while the Illini are 8-13 and 3-6 on the road. Illinois is 27-27 in Top 10 matchups while Duke is 37-13.

Vs. The Spread

Both Illinois and Duke check in at 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as the total has gone OVER in five of Illinois’ last six contests. Illinois is a less than savory 1-9 SU in the last 10 meetings with ACC opponents. The total has gone OVER in 13 of the Blue Devils’ last 19 games and Duke is 15-2 SU in their last 17 encounters with Big Ten opposition.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Illinois +3.5 (-105) +150 O 147 (-110)
Duke -3.5 (-115) -170 U 147 (-110)

Last Time Out

Illinois lost it’s first Top 10 battle of the season when the then No. 5 Illini fell to No. 2 Baylor, 82-69. Illinois had a tough time accounting for Bears’ sharp-shooting transfer Adam Flagler, who came off the bench to score 18 points. Ayo Dosunmu led Illinois with 18 points while forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili came off the bench to add 15.

Matthew Hurt led the Blue Devils with 24 points while Jeremy Brakefield became on the only Duke freshman to come off the bench and go perfect from 3-point range in Cameron Indoor Stadium history. He went 4-for-4 and finished with 12 points.

Smoke Signals

Illinois Fighting Illini LogoThe inside-outside threat of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn will be an issue for Duke, especially on the defensive end as Jordan Goldwire and Matthew Hurt are likely to draw the matchups. Dosunmu was first team all-Big Ten for 2019-20 and Cockburn was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year with 13.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks last season.

Dosunmu has brought his best game forward vs. Top 10 opponents as he averages 14.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in five such matchups. Freshman Adam Miller is off to an astounding start for coach Brad Underwood where he averaged 18 points while shooting 59.4 percent from the floor in his first three games. The lllini are experienced and often thrive on the defensive end of the floor by the energy of senior guard Trent Frazier.

Devil’s Den

Duke Blue Devils LogoDuke is once again really young as coach Mike Krzyzewski continues to follow the one-and-done path to try to win his sixth national championship in Durham. Goldwire is a senior on the point, but the name to watch in the back court could be DJ Steward who came off the bench to score 24 points in the opening win over Coppin State. That was the most points off the bench in a freshman debut in Blue Devils’ history. Jalen Johnson had 19 points and 19 boards in his freshman debut as he was a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor. His minutes have dropped off in the last two games with 22 against Michigan State and 11 vs. Bellarmine. He still averages 13 points and 8.7 boards in those first three games.

Winner: Duke (-3.5) 78, Illinois 72
Over-Under: Take OVER 147

The Bets
Duke Blue Devils -3.5
OVER 147
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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.