UConn vs Illinois Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2024

No. 1 UConn (34-3) made another convincing argument in its push to repeat as national champions on Thursday, routing No. 5 San Diego State 82-52. The Huskies advanced to the Elite 8 for the second year in a row, where they’ll take on No. 3 Illinois (29-8).

The Fighting Illini upset No. 2 Iowa State to continue its impressive NCAA Tournament run behind 29 points from Terrence Shannon. Illinois figures to be UConn’s toughest test yet, but can anyone stop the Huskies?

Here are our best bets and predictions for UConn vs Illinois.

UConn vs Illinois Odds

Per the latest NCAAB odds, oddsmakers have come to a consensus and installed UConn as 8.5-point favorites over Illinois. The Huskies have won their first three matchups by no less than 17, so Illinois and its high-powered offense clearly earned some respect.

KenPom lists the Huskies and Fighting Illini as No. 1 and 2 in adjusted offensive efficiency, respectively, so this reasonably high 155-point total is to be expected. UConn also possesses a top-10 defense, which is why this Over/Under isn’t any higher.

UConn vs Illinois Prediction

UConn 84, Illinois 74

At this point, it’s become increasingly difficult to pick against the Huskies. UConn has dispatched increasingly difficult opponents with ease, and its success on both ends of the floor means it can win in a variety of ways.

Illinois has a stellar offense, but it isn’t known for its ability to slow opponents down on defense. The Fighting Illini rank No. 84 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating — the second-lowest mark of all remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament — and play at a reasonably fast tempo.

The Huskies also have excellent players at a few major positions. Tristen Newton and Stephon Castle make up an excellent backcourt, and 7-foot-2 center Donovan Clingan is a force to be reckoned with around the rim.

Shannon will do his best to will Illinois to a win, but UConn is too big, too deep, and too talented for the Fighting Illini to overcome. Expect the Huskies to prevail by double-digits.

UConn vs Illinois Best Bets

UConn -8.5 (-110) vs Illinois

bet365 Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

UConn carries a 10-game winning streak into its meeting with Illinois. Among those contests, only two (@ Marquette, @ St. John’s) were decided by less than 10 points, with an average margin of victory of 20.9 points per game.

That’s part of what makes this Huskies team so special. Despite the lofty expectations, UConn has gone 25-12 ATS this year, or a cover rate of 67.6%. Only nine other teams in college basketball have fared better against the spread.

That success hasn’t wavered against top-tier competition, either, as the Huskies are 8-2 ATS when playing ranked opponents. The Fighting Illini, on the other hand, are 3-2-1 ATS vs top-25 teams.

This is a wide margin to cover, but UConn has the two-way talent to get the job done. Back the Huskies with your best college basketball bet today.

Over 154.5 Points (-110)

FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Illinois knows it can’t win by beating UConn at its own game, so I expect the Illini to go up-tempo and get up as many attempts as possible. With that in mind, the game script points to this being a higher-scoring contest.

The Huskies have gone Under this number in all three NCAA Tournament games so far, but they also haven’t seen an offense as talented as the Fighting Illini’s. The Over should be in play at 154.5 points.


Garrett Chorpenning

Garrett Chorpenning is the Lead NBA Editor for The Game Day. His previous work includes covering the LA Clippers for Sports Illustrated and FanSided. He graduated from Ball State University in 2021.

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