Illinois and UConn are battling for the East Region crown. The 3-seed Illini will face 1-seed UConn, the defending NCAA Tournament champion, in the Elite 8.

Ahead of Saturday’s showdown in Boston (6:09 p.m. ET, TBS), BetMGM shared with Saturday Tradition how the game is being bet.

Illinois is once again underdog. After entering the Iowa State game as a 1.5-point dog, Illinois is getting 8.5 points against UConn. The spread opened at 8.5 points and has not moved.

BetMGM has priced the Illini with the points at -110. A $110 bet would be needed to win $100. UConn as an 8.5-point favorite is also priced at -110.


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As of Saturday morning, the majority of spread bettors have been willing to lay the points with the Huskies. The split of spread bets is 69/31 UConn. The spread split on the handle (the amount of money in play) is even wider at 74/26.

  • Illinois +8.5 (-110): 31% bets, 26% handle
  • UConn -8.5 (-110): 69% bets, 74% handle

When it comes to picking a winner straight-up, Illinois is a more popular pick. On the moneyline, BetMGM prices the Illini at +350. An Illinois victory would turn a $100 bet into $450 payout.

As a heavy favorite, UConn is priced at -450. To collect on a UConn victory straight-up, a bettor would need to wager $450 to win $100.

Illinois has 80% of the moneyline bets. The moneyline handle, however, shows a much tighter split of 52/48.

  • Illinois to win (+350): 80% bets, 52% handle
  • UConn to win (-450): 20% bets, 48% handle

How many points will Illinois, UConn put up?

BetMGM opened the line for the game’s point total at 155.5. At publishing time, it remains the game’s over/under.

Bettors are taking the over at a 58/42 split. The handle split is even more in favor of the over. Both the over and under are priced at -110 for a $110 bet to win $100.

  • Over 155.5 points (-110): 58% bets, 64% handle
  • Under 155.5 points (-110): 42% bets, 36% handle

How they got here

Illinois is one of the hottest teams in college basketball. After winning 4-of-5 to end the regular season, the Illini picked up 3 more wins for a Big Ten Tournament title.

In the NCAA Tournament, Brad Underwood’s team has impressed with dominant wins over 14-seed Morehead State and 11-seed Duquesne. Thursday’s win over 2-seed Iowa State was by just 3 points (72-69), but the Illini again controlled the game, leading for all but 49 seconds of game time.

UConn looks to be even hotter. The Huskies are on a 10-game winning streak.

In the NCAA Tournament, UConn has won all 3 games in blowout fashion. The Huskies defeated 16-seed Stetson 91-52 before a 75-58 win over 9-seed Northwestern. It was back to winning by 30+ with an 82-52 victory over 5-seed San Diego State on Thursday.

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