The NCAA Tournament is here, and the games will be going on all day. One of the most anticipated matchups for the Tournament’s first day is a Big Ten vs. SEC showdown as the Illinois Fighting Illini and Arkansas Razorbacks will go head-to-head in Iowa for first-round action. If you need help picking a side, you are in luck, as we will break down Illinois vs. Arkansas odds, props, trends, and predictions.
Both teams entered the season with high expectations. Although they both have 20 wins on the season, they also stumbled down the stretch, especially Arkansas, who lost six of its last 10 to end the season. On the other side, Illinois has lost three of its last four and were quickly disposed of in the Big Ten Tournament by the eventual champion Purdue Boilermakers.
We hope you enjoy the first few days of the Tournament and the wall-to-wall college basketball action. If you are struggling to find a winner, we have got you covered, as we will break down this tremendous matchup and give you the best bet of the night.
Illinois vs. Arkansas Betting Odds: Spread, Moneyline, Total
When you make your Illinois vs. Arkansas picks, make sure you are aware of the odds and lines from each of the top US sportsbooks to ensure you are getting the best number for your bets. This will also make you aware of each sportsbook’s bonus offers, which is an excellent way to fund your bets this March.
Below, we have included the Illinois vs. Arkansas odds and lines from some of our top-rated mobile sportsbooks.
NCAAB · Thu (3/16) @ 4:34pm ET
|Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas|
Illinois vs. Arkansas Betting Trends
- Illinois is 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last six games
- The total has gone Over in four of Illinois’ last six games
- The total has gone Over in four of Illinois’ last five games against the SEC
- Illinois is 2-7 straight up (SU) in its last nine games when playing as the underdog
- Arkansas is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games against the Big Ten
- The total has gone Over in five of Arkansas’ last seven games
- Arkansas is 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight games played in March
- The total has gone Over in five of Arkansas’ last five games when playing as the favorite
View the board: March Madness odds
Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12, 18-14 ATS)
In seasons past, Illinois could rely on its star power on offense to win games. While they are not as dominant as they have been the past couple of seasons, they are still a well-rounded team, and the Illini defense is very dangerous.
The Illini defense is very strong inside the arc, as they are ranked 16th in two-point shooting percentage (41.7%), 29th in effective field goal percentage (46.9%), and their length and athleticism make them a nightmare to drive in against. As a result, they are ranked second in blocks per game and third in block percentage.
With Arkansas getting about 60% of its production inside the arc, Illinois can stifle a very inconsistent Arkansas offense. Although Illinois’ offense is equally streaky, they still rank 56th in KenPom‘s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Rating.
Both offenses will have a hard time in the half-court, and this game may be ugly as neither team shoots the ball all that well, but Illinois ranks 10th in Adjusted Shot Quality according to ShotQuality.
Arkansas Razorbacks (20-13, 15-16-2 ATS)
Arkansas has collapsed down the stretch, losing six of its last nine. In those nine games, they gave up 72.3 points per game, including giving up 70 points to Mississippi State, which is pretty alarming considering the Bulldogs are inept on offense.
This is not to say that the defense is terrible because that is certainly not the case. The Razorbacks rank 15th in KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Rating and 31st in Adjusted Defensive Shot Quality according to ShotQuality.
On offense, while they are like Illinois in terms of being susceptible to missing almost every shot they take for a long stretch, they have more horses in the stable that I am willing to bet on. Nick Smith takes over 34% of the team’s total shots per game, and Anthony Black is an excellent high-volume shooter. The pair of five-star freshmen are in a prime position to take over the Tournament, and if they can get going, the Hogs will be a dangerous team in March.
Illinois vs. Arkansas Betting Pick
I enjoy both of these teams because they are athletic and exciting, and this has all the makings of the best game on the schedule today.
However, this is going to be a brick-fest as both defenses defend pretty well inside the arc. Offensively, neither team has been able to find any consistency during the season, which is the perfect recipe for a game that is going to go way under.
Although the trends support the Over, this game is going to come down to which offense performs better in transition. With both defenses ranking above average in transition, this game is going to be ugly and is going to stay well under the number.
Pick: Under 144.5 via FanDuel Sportsbook
Illinois vs. Arkansas Prop Bets
Terrence Shannon Jr. Over 16.5 Points (-106, FanDuel)
The Texas Tech transfer has been huge for the Illini this season, putting up 17.1 points per game on 44% shooting from the field. While Illinois has stumbled down the stretch, Shannon remains one of the most important players on the team.
Over Illinois’ final nine games, they went 4-5, but Shannon averaged 16.5 points per game. Although he is not a great three-point shooter, he was still fitting them at a 32.6% clip, which makes me feel comfortable enough that he can get hot in this game.
With both teams having trouble defending the three-point line, the opportunities for Shannon will be there. With Illinois’ somewhat stagnant offense, Shannon has a chance to shine in this spot and send the Illini to the next round.
Anthony Black Over 4.5 Rebounds (-154, FanDuel)
The talented freshman for Arkansas has been one of the most important players on the team, and that is because not only can he shoot the ball well for a big man, but he is physical down low and can gobble up rebounds.
While he is only averaging 5.4 rebounds per game, which is dangerously close to his rebounding prop number, he has hit this prop in three of his last four games. In the one game he missed, he had four rebounds, which would leave us one shy of cashing this prop.
Both teams are physical down low, but we are also dealing with two teams that are not overly-effective shooting teams. This means we can expect a lot of misses, which means a lot of opportunities for Black to clean the glass and easily go over this number.
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