Arkansas vs. Illinois prediction, odds, time: 2023 NCAA Tournament picks, March Madness best bets by top model


Teams that have struggled of late will look to turn things around and try to make a deep 2023 NCAA Tournament run when the ninth-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini face the eighth-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks in a first-round West Region matchup on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa. The Fighting Illini (20-12), who finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten at 11-9, were 2-3 on neutral courts this season. The Razorbacks (20-13), who tied for ninth in the SEC at 8-10, were 4-2 at neutral sites. This will be the sixth-ever meeting between the teams with Illinois holding a 5-0 series advantage.

The game from Wells Fargo Arena will tip off at 4:30 p.m. ET. Illinois is averaging 74.7 points per game, while Arkansas averages 74.4. The Razorbacks are 1.5-point favorites in the latest Illinois vs. Arkansas odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over/under for total points scored is set at 144. Before making any Arkansas vs. Illinois picks, be sure to check out the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. The model enters the 2023 NCAA Tournament 79-53 on all-top rated college basketball picks this season, returning nearly $1,300 for $100 players. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Illinois vs. Arkansas and just locked in its picks and CBB predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are the college basketball lines and trends for Arkansas vs. Illinois:

  • Illinois vs. Arkansas spread: Arkansas -1.5
  • Illinois vs. Arkansas over/under: 144 points 
  • Illinois vs. Arkansas money line: Illinois +105, Arkansas -125
  • ILL: The Fighting Illini are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games against a team with a winning % above .600 
  • ARK: The Razorbacks are 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games 
  • Illinois vs. Arkansas picks: See picks here

Why Arkansas can cover

Freshman guard Anthony Black is one of five Razorbacks to average 10 points or more this season. In 33 games, all starts, Black is averaging 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and two steals in 34.7 minutes. He has reached double-digit scoring in 22 games, including a season-high 26 points in back-to-back games during the Maui Invitational in November. He scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists in the SEC second-round 76-73 win over Auburn last Thursday.

Junior guard Davonte Davis, who has 28 starts in 32 games this season, is averaging 10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 33.4 minutes of action. He has registered two double-doubles on the season, including a 16-point and 10-rebound performance in an 84-69 loss to Alabama on Jan. 11. He also scored 10 points and grabbed 10 boards in a 65-58 victory over UNC Greensboro on Dec. 6. He has scored 10 or more points in 17 games.

Why Illinois can cover 

Senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr. helps power the Fighting Illini. In 30 games, including 29 starts, the Texas Tech transfer has been a force, averaging 17.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals. He is connecting on 44% of his field goals and 79.2% of his free throws. In the Big Ten Tournament second-round loss to Penn State, Shannon scored 19 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists.

Senior forward Matthew Mayer, a transfer from Baylor, has started all 32 games for the Fighting Illini. In 26.7 minutes, he is averaging 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 assists per game. He has reached double-figure scoring in seven of the last eight games, including 24 points in a 91-87 double-overtime win over Michigan on March 2. He has recorded one double-double, a 19-point and 10-rebound effort in a 78-60 win at Minnesota on Jan. 16.

How to make Illinois vs. Arkansas picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the point total. In fact, it says Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. and Arkansas’ Ricky Council IV will score two fewer points than their season averages. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in over 60% of simulations. You can only get the model’s pick at SportsLine

So who wins Illinois vs. Arkansas? And which side of the spread cashes in over 60% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Illinois vs. Arkansas spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned nearly $1,300 on its college basketball picks this season, and find out.

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