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Arkansas vs Illinois Prediction and NCAA Tournament March Madness Expert Picks

In a First Round NCAA Tournament game, the 8-seed Arkansas Razorbacks will face off with the 9-seed Illinois Fighting Illini in the West Region. Let’s take a look at the top college basketball betting odds, March Madness expert picks, betting trends and KenPom Rankings, then share our official Arkansas vs Illinois prediction for the First Round matchup. 

Arkansas vs Illinois Prediction and March Madness Expert Picks

2023 NCAA Tournament First Round
No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks (20-13) vs. No. 9 Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12)
Date: Thursday, March 16, 2023
Time: 4:30 PM EST
Venue: Wells Fargo Arena — Des Moines, IA
Coverage: TBS

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Arkansas vs Illinois March Madness Betting Odds

All college basketball betting odds for Arkansas vs Illinois can be found at BetUS Sportsbook.

Moneyline: ARK: (-135) | ILL: (+115)
Point Spread: ARK: -2 (-110) | ILL: +2 (-110)
Total: 143.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

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KenPom Rankings | Bracketology

KenPom Rankings are from

TeamOverall AdjEM (Rk)AdjO (Rk)AdjD (Rk)AdjT (Rk)
Arkansas+18.63 (20)112.6 (51)94.0 (16)69.7 (54)
Illinois+16.48 (33)112.2 (58)95.7 (32)69.4 (71)
  • Razorbacks are 9-1 ATS in their last ten games against Big Ten opponents.
  • Five of the Razorbacks’ last seven games overall have gone OVER the total.
  • The total has gone OVER in each of the Razorbacks’ last five games as a betting favorite.
  • Fighting Illini are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the Fighting Illini’s last five games against SEC opponents.
  • Fighting Illini are only 2-7 straight up in their last nine games as a betting underdog.

Arkansas vs Illinois Prediction | March Madness Expert Picks and Bracketology

While it takes more than coaching to win in the NCAA Tournament, it’s tough to ignore the job that Eric Musselman has done at Arkansas. The Razorbacks have advanced to the Elite Eight in each of the last two years, albeit as a higher seed than where they land in this year’s bracket. That said, Illinois has also been seeded higher in the past two years. However, Brad Underwood failed to navigate the Fighting Illini past the opening weekend on either occasion.

In terms of statistics, Arkansas is a team that is built for tournament play. The Razorbacks boast a trio of talented guards in Ricky Council IV, Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black. All three players averaged north of 12 points per game this season. On the flip side, Illinois does not have any player other than Terrance Shannon Jr. that can consistently be counted on to create quality looks.

Another narrative to consider here is how poorly the Big Ten Conference has fared in March Madness in recent years. Illinois certainly has been no exception to this trend. With the football-focused SEC being as tough as it’s ever been on the hardwood, Arkansas should be able to handle a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team.

Our official college basketball betting Arkansas vs Illinois prediction will be ARKANSAS COVERS at BetUS

For what it’s worth, the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives Arkansas a 57.4% chance to win.

Bet: Arkansas -2 (-110 at BetUS Sportsbook)

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