Arkansas vs Illinois Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for March 16 NCAA Tournament Game (Fighting Illini Cannot Keep Up)

Arkansas vs Illinois Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for March 16 NCAA Tournament Game (Fighting Illini Cannot Keep Up)


Arkansas vs Illinois Game Info

  • 2022-23 NCAA Tournament Game
  • Arkansas (20-13) vs. Illinois (20-12)
  • Date: Thursday, March 16, 2023
  • Time: 4:30 PM ET
  • Venue: Wells Fargo Arena -- Des Moines, Iowa
  • Coverage: TBS

The 2023 NCAA Tournament continues on Thursday with an exciting Round of 64 matchup between the No. 9 Illinois Fighting Illini and No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks. Illinois is back in the big dance for the third straight year, while Arkansas is making its fourth appearance in the last five NCAA Tournaments.

Illinois enters as a loser in five of its last eight games following a 79-76 loss to Penn State during the Big Ten Tournament. Meanwhile, Arkansas has dropped four of its last five games thanks to a 67-61 loss to Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament. Which storied program gets back on track with a victory?

Arkansas vs Illinois Odds & Spread

Arkansas enters this contest as a small favorite on the moneyline and spread per FanDuel Sportsbook's odds. This 4:30 p.m. ET clash also features an over/under of 144.5 points, which is above average compared to Thursday's projected totals.

Arkansas vs Illinois Betting Trends

  • Arkansas' record against the spread is 16-17-0.
  • Against the spread as 2.5-point favorites or more, the Razorbacks are 12-10.
  • Out of 33 Arkansas' games so far this season, 14 have gone over the total.
  • Illinois has 18 wins in 32 games against the spread this season.
  • The Fighting Illini have covered every time (5-0) as a 2.5-point underdog or greater this year.
  • This year, 15 of Illinois' 32 games have hit the over.
Arkansas Rank Arkansas AVG Illinois AVG Illinois Rank
118th 74.4 Points Scored 74.7 110th
98th 67.4 Points Allowed 67 85th
139th 32.4 Rebounds 35.5 23rd
165th 8.7 Off. Rebounds 10.2 43rd
347th 5.1 3pt Made 7.7 139th
150th 13.4 Assists 12.5 225th
245th 12.5 Turnovers 12.4 232nd

Arkansas vs Illinois Prediction & Pick

Heading into the NCAA Tournament with little to no momentum is a tough pill to swallow, but it's one both Illinois and Arkansas have to deal with. Each side's best basketball of the season was played during the early months, so whichever team can get back to that form will emerge victorious now.

I like that team to be Arkansas. The Razorbacks make a living out of driving to the rim and converting contested layups, which is not good for a Fighting Illini squad that averages 19.3 fouls per game away from State Farm Center. Expect players like Anthony Black and Ricky Council to be at the line a ton.

Illinois has lost seven of its last nine games as an underdog, so fade the Fighting Illini on Thursday.

Final Score Prediction: Arkansas: 73 | Illinois: 67

Arkansas vs Illinois Best Bet

Arkansas had to be excited when it saw Illinois pop up on the screen given the Razorbacks are 9-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 games against a Big Ten opponent. The Fighting Illini have notably struggled when it matters the most, too, going 1-8 ATS in their last nine games in March.

Illinois is 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall and 1-7 ATS in its last eight games on a Thursday as well. The Fighting Illini struggle to come back from early deficits because they cannot shoot the three-ball efficiently (30.9%) or drain enough free throws (68.0%). That will be the case again here.

Bet: Arkansas Razorbacks -2.5 (-118)

Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.