NCAA Betting: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Missouri Tigers betting odds, preview, pick

USA TODAY Sports

Can Missouri become the first team to defeat Illinois in 2012? Expect the point spread to reflect the Illini's perfect season so far and for the Tigers to be solid college basketball betting underdogs Saturday.

The Missouri Tigers have won three straight against the Illinois Fighting Illini, but picking up a fourth in the annual series means they must become the first team in America to beat the Illini this season.

The "Bud Light Braggin' Rights" Game will be played at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri and the matchup stats and opening college basketballl odds will be at OddsShark.com.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Missouri Tigers (Saturday, 6:00 PM ET) - line updates at SBNation

As has been the case every year in recent years, the Missouri Tigers run a fast-paced offense and spread the ball around with five players averaging over nine points per game this season led by senior forward Laurence Bower's 16.3 points per game.

The Tigers also received a boost just in time for the Illini game with Oregon transfer Jabari Brown cleared to play. Brown scored 12 in his debut against South Carolina State. Missouri is 9-1 SU and 3-4 ATS.

The Illinois Fighting Illini are off to a fantastic start on the season, compiling a 12-0 SU and 5-4 ATS record with a few big wins on their resume. The 78-61 blowout of Butler looks even stronger after Butler's win over Indiana, and the 85-74 road win over Gonzaga showed that the Illini could take their act on the road.

Senior guard Brandon Paul has been excellent through the first 12 games averaging 18.8 points per game and shooting .398 from 3-point range.

[ See tonight NBA odds, matchup stats, trends and previews ]

This annual series has gone in swings in recent years. Missouri has won each of the last three games against Illinois and is 2-1 ATS over that stretch. But in the nine games prior from 2000-2008, Illinois was 9-0 SU and 5-3-1 over Missouri; and that was coming off a 3-0 SU and ATS streak in Missouri's favor.

Will the Tigers be able to keep this current winning streak going, or is it Illinois' turn to take back the reins?

The total has gone OVER in two of the last three games between these two out-of-conference rivals. Both teams have trended slightly towards the OVER with Missouri at 2-1 and Illinois at 4-3 to this point in the season.

Expect the basketball odds to favor Illinois as sportsbooks open their lines overnight Friday.

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