March Madness gambling expectations are mixed with the Illinois Fighting Illini as they proved to be a highly inconsistent team in the Big Ten and are not a popular choice with the March Madness odds.
The UNLV Rebels will take on the Fighting Illini of Illinois on Friday night with a starting time of 9:25 PM ET. Sports Gambling opened with UNLV as a 1.5 point favorite. The game can be seen on TNT. UNLV is the 8 seed in the Southwest regional while Illinois is the 9 seed. The game will take place in Tulsa, OK.
Illinois has a NCAA March Madness bet record of 19-13 straight up and 16-15-1 against the spread. Illinois was 6-4-1 against the spread on the road and went over the total in 6 of those 11 games.
The Illini finished 5th in the Big Ten race and showed occasional signs of being able to compete with top shelf teams as evidenced by their win over North Carolina earlier in the season. Illinois is led by Demetri McCarney who averaged 14.8 points per game along with 6.1 assists per outing.
The Illini have shown decent form as of late with 3 payouts in their last 4 games heading into the Big Dance.
UNLV has a bet on March Madness record of 24-8 straight up and just 13-18 against the spread. The Rebels finished 3rd in the Mountain West Conference regular season race and lost a tough 74-72 matchup with San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. UNLV is a solid defensive team that allowed 62.6 points per game.
The Rebels lack a dominant scorer however as they were led by Tre’von Willis who averaged a modest 13.5 points per game. UNLV was 6-5 against the spread on the road and went over the total in 6 out of 11 games. UNLV would figure to have the coaching edge with Lon Kruger over Illinois’ Bruce Webber, who has not put together a serious contender in recent years.
UNLV opened at Sports-Gambling as a +1400 field selection to win the NCAA Tournament while Illinois opened as a +10000 March Madness gambling choice to win the Big Dance.