The Jimmy V Classic will feature two marquee matchups, with all four teams ranked in the AP Top 25. One of those matchups will be No.11 Florida Atlantic facing No.20 Illinois in the opening game. Both teams are playing well, leading to an exciting game for NCAA basketball predictions.
The Owls beat Charleston 90-74 in their last game, now having won five straight games against relatively tough competition. The Fighting Illini beat Rutgers 76-58 for their fourth straight win, remaining a consistent team.
Florida Atlantic Strong ATS Record
Florida Atlantic’s run to the Final Four last season has brought a lot of attention to the school, and it seems to be thriving with a 7-1 record. With more attention on the program in college basketball odds the team has succeeded, going 6-2 against the spread.
However, the Owls did lose to Bryant, suffering their first and only season loss on Nov. 18 before winning five straight since then. During that stretch, Florida Atlantic has been without starting point guard Nicholas Boyd, who is averaging 10.7 points and likely won’t be available to face Illinois.
Being without Boyd sometimes leads to inconsistent play, but Vladislav Goldin and Johnell Davis have done their best to stabilize the team. In the win over Charleston, both came up big. Goldin had 17 points and 12 rebounds while Davis scored 24 with 10 boards.
Each player must have a big game if the Owls are an option for NCAA Basketball picks today. Goldin is the best rebounder on the team but is often in foul trouble, hurting his ability to help Florida Atlantic. Davis is one of the top scorers on the team but can quickly go from hot to cold.
Illinois Is Better Team Than Most May Think
Illinois has been able to find its niche early in the season, figuring out the best way to play every game. While the Illini have not been tested often, outside of a competitive loss to then-No. 4 Marquette on Nov. 14, the team has still shown it is trending upward in college basketball lines.
The win over Rutgers certainly helped with that. It was the first Big Ten matchup, and Illinois looked dominant. The Illini played their usual style: elite defense, rebounding the ball and relying on Terrence Shannon Jr. to handle most of the offensive work.
Terrence Shannon Jr. is playing like the best wing in college basketball.
And it may not be close.
23 and 10 today at Rutgers.
4-7 from 3. https://t.co/W3p0Hs350l
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 2, 2023
Illinois outrebounded Rutgers 55-27, dominating the glass and will likely be able to do so against Florida Atlantic. The Illini also held Rutgers to shooting 33.3% from the field while they shot 45.5%. Still, the offense ran through Shannon, who is averaging 20 points and has led Illinois in scoring in every game but one. He had 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
This has been the outline of all of Illinois’ success this season. In the neutral setting, although Florida Atlantic is favored in the college basketball spread, Illinois has a clear path to make this game interesting.
Florida Atlantic vs Illinois Game Information
- Game: Florida Atlantic (7-1) vs Illinois (6-1)
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
- Day/Time: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m. ET
- Atlantic vs Illinois Live Stream: NCAA
Florida Atlantic vs Illinois Betting Lines
Florida Atlantic vs Illinois Best Bet
This game is a tough choice for college basketball betting. Illinois has been great at the start of the season, having the perfect blend of defense and interior presence to challenge Florida Atlantic. However, Florida Atlantic has been good but isn’t externally reliable against tough opponents.
With the spread already set so close and this game being played in a neutral venue, Illinois might be in line for a small upset.
College Basketball Best Bet: Illinois ML +115
Question Of The Day
Are there any key injuries or suspensions that could affect the game?
One of the starting guards for Florida Atlantic, Nicholas Boyd, is injured and will likely not play in this game.