NCAA Tournament Betting: Duquesne vs. Illinois Picks and Odds

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic
NCAA Tournament Betting: Duquesne vs. Illinois Picks and Odds

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

Out in Omaha, Saturday's Round of 32 will feature an East region romp amongst No. 3 Illinois and No. 11 Duquesne. At FanDuel Sportsbook, the Fighting Illini are listed as 9.5-point favorites versus the Dukes. Still, this is March; far crazier upsets have already occurred.

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Duquesne vs. Illinois Betting Odds

Date and Time: Saturday, March 23rd at 8:40 p.m. ET

Spread: Illinois -9.5 (-120)

Total: 148.5 (-105/-115)


  • Duquesne: +390
  • Illinois: -530

Duquesne vs. Illinois Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.


  • numberFire Ranking: 86th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 75th
  • KenPom Ranking: 80th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 28th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 157th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 251st


  • numberFire Ranking: 9th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 12th
  • KenPom Ranking: 7th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 92nd
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 2nd
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 57th

Duquesne vs. Illinois Best Bet

Under 148.5 (-115)

Genuinely, Saturday night's affair at CHI Health Center Omaha between Illinois and Duquesne will be a clash of styles.

Through 35 contests, head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini have been a top-10 scoring side in all of college basketball. To this point, Illinois has thrived behind an 84.4 PPG scoring clip. That level of prowess allowed them to finish second (14-6) in the Big Ten regular-season standings while also winning the conference tourney last week.

The Dukes -- led by head coach Keith Dambrot -- were strong themselves in 2024, winning 25 total games. For Duquesne, they managed to hold opponents to just 66.1 PPG, which was the 27th-best clip in men's Division I. In the big dance's opening round, the Dukes cornered BYU into only 67 points. Now facing the Illini in a similar underdog setting, can the small Catholic school in Pittsburgh shock the world again?

As part of Duquesne's suffocating effort, the Dukes play quite slow. Notably, they show up 261st (66.4 AdjT) on KenPom's tempo rankings. That can present issues when going up against a moderate total of 148.5 points as reflected here in Duquesne-Illinois. With that, I believe our best approach in this game is a play on the total.

According to numberFire's college basketball game predictions, the Fighting Illini are projected to emerge victorious by a score of 74.10-68.04. That presents a combined total of only 142.1 points, which allows more than six points of cushion against the set total in this contest.

When looking at the pace of play throughout the tournament so far, I don't mind paying minimal juice (-115 odds) on under 148.5 here. Illinois' Terrence Shannon and Marcus Domask are certainly fine scorers, but they may see limited opportunities in a slower game. Let's go under in Omaha!

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.