There are two ways to look at head coach Brad Underwood and the Illinois Fighting Illini as Big Ten Conference tournament action commences. First, Illinois is a team that posted quality wins over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, UCLA Bruins, and Texas Longhorns. On the other hand, the Fighting Illini suffered uninspiring losses to the Penn State Nittany Lions and Ohio State Buckeyes. So a sector of the gambling community doesn’t know what to think of Illinois. Most important of all, the Fighting Illini posted a March Madness betting profit on the campaign.
2023 Big Ten Conference Tournament Illinois Fighting Illini
When: Thursday, March 9, 2023, 5:30 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
TV: Big Ten Network
CashBet Odds: +1200 to win the Big Ten Tournament
Illinois Fighting Illini Big Ten Tournament CashBet Wagering Analysis
As mentioned earlier, Illinois provided good Bitcoin sportsbook value this season. And that has Wise Guys thinking Illinois can provide March Madness betting value. First on the docket for The Fighting Illini is a matchup against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Tipoff time at United Center, Chicago, IL, is at 5:30 p.m. ET with television coverage on BTN.
Penn State Provides Legitimate Threat
The Penn State Nittany Lions are 19-12 straight up, 16-13-2 against the spread, and 17-13 over/under the total. Penn State has national rankings of 163rd for scoring offense, 60th for field goal percentage, 12th for 3-point field goal percentage, 106th for free throw percentage, and 294th for offensive rebounding. On defense, Penn State has national rankings of 126th for scoring defense, 153rd for field goal percentage permitted, 239th for 3-point field goal percentage allowed, and 284th for defensive rebounding.
Penn State covered two of its final five games. The Nittany Lions failed to go over the bet on NCAA basketball total in their final three games. Jalen Pickett leads Penn State with 18.0 points, 7.0 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per contest.
Gamblers Struggle to Read Illinois
In sum, the Illinois Fighting Illini are 20-11 straight up, 18-13 against the spread, and 14-16 over/under the total. Illinois has national rankings of 115th for scoring offense, 166th for field goal percentage, 334th for 3-point field goal percentage, 303rd for free throw percentage, and 22nd for offensive rebounding. While on defense, Illinois has national rankings of 78th for scoring defense, 52nd for field goal percentage permitted, 157th for 3-point field goal percentage allowed, and 128th for defensive rebounding.
Late on, Illinois failed to get the cash in four of its previous five games. The Fighting Illini went over the 2023 March Madness Betting total in three of their last five outings. Terrence Shannon Jr leads the Fighting Illini with 17.1 points per game.
Brandon Newman scored a season-high 19 points, Zach Edey added 17, and No. 5 Purdue beat Illinois 76-71 on Sunday. Thus, Purdue is the first Big Ten team since 2014 to win the league title by three or more games.
The Boilermakers led by 24 early in the second half. Finally, the Illini rallied and tied the game at 67 on a free throw by Matthew Mayer with 1:17 to go. Edey’s layup gave Purdue a 69-67 edge with 56 seconds left. Subsequently, Illinois turned over the ball with 31 seconds left.
Purdue’s Fletcher Loyer sank two free throws to push the lead to 71-67 after an immediate foul. Mayer missed a 3-point shot, and Newman made two free throws to push the lead to 73-67. Next, Luke Goode hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 74-71 with 7 seconds left. But Newman hit two free throws to seal it.
Mayer led the Illini with 16 points. Following was Terrence Shannon Jr. with 13. Sencire Harris added 11 and Goode’s 10 points. Brad Underwood said the team missed freshman guard Jayden Epps, who was sidelined with a concussion.
The Illini had won three of four 2023 March Madness Betting games coming in. However, Illinois struggled with turnovers and outside shooting in the first half.
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