The Illinois Fighting Illini (24-6) take on the Loyola Chicago Ramblers (25-4) in a Midwest Region Second Round game Sunday. The top-seeded Illini and eighth-seeded Ramblers will tip-off at 12:10 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Below, we analyze the Illinois-Loyola Chicago odds and lines, with March Madness NCAA Tournament picks and predictions.
The Fighting Illini — ranked second in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports — were dominant in their First Round win over Drexel, taking an 18-point lead by halftime and never looking back. A stingy UI defense held DU to a 30.6% shooting mark. That type of defense is part of a trend: the Illini have won eight straight games; they’ve held foes to a 39.5% figure over that stretch.
The Ramblers downed Georgia Tech 71-60 in Friday’s Round 1 contest. Loyola drained 11 triples, its most in a single game since Dec. 27, and the Ramblers hauled down a season-best 12 offensive rebounds. Loyola has won seven games in a row and 18 of its last 19.
Illinois vs. Loyola Chicago: Odds, spread and lines
Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 9:20 a.m. ET.
- Money line: Illinois -350 (bet $350 to win $100) | Loyola Chicago +280 (bet $100 to win $280)
- Against the spread/ATS: Illinois -7.5 (-110) | Loyola Chicago +7.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: 133.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)
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Illinois vs. Loyola Chicago: Odds, lines, predictions and picks
Illinois 69, Loyola Chicago 63
Money line (ML)
NO-GO here. Illinois is the more talented team, but from a value standpoint, a tag of +300-or-better on Loyola would be worth looking into.
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Against the spread (ATS)
Illinois is a solid lean up until about a 6 or 6.5-point threshold. In its last eight games as a 7-to-9-point favorite, the Fighting Illini are 3-4-1 ATS. Over their last three such games, they are 1-1-1 ATS.
This Land-of-Lincoln match-up is a clash of pace, with Loyola playing a style short on possessions and Illinois playing at a faster tempo. Styles aside, both teams excel on the defensive end. Both rank in the top-10 in defensive-efficiency metrics and are tremendous on the defensive boards.
The Illini are accustomed to playing slow-paced teams in the Big Ten. In a combined nine games against the slowest Big Ten squads (Wisconsin, Maryland, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan), the Under has a 5-3-1 edge.
A game in the 120s is a distinct possibility. TAKE THE UNDER 133.5 (-110).
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