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Chattanooga vs Illinois Odds and Picks

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Updated Mar 17, 2022 · 3:54 PM PDT

Kofi Cockburn on defense
Illinois' Kofi Cockburn sets up on defense during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northwestern Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Michael Allio)
  • The Chattanooga vs Illinois odds favor the Fighting Illini by 8.5-points on Friday (March 18) at 6:50pm ET
  • Illinois is 10-1 versus teams ranked outside the top-70 this season
  • Read below for the Chattanooga vs Illinois odds, analysis, and betting prediction

Chattanooga needed a miracle to win the Southern Tournament and advance to March Madness. Their reward for those heroics? A date with Illinois in the South Region’s 13 vs 4 matchup.

The Big Ten regular season champs will be fresh after an early exit in their conference tournament, and will be looking to avenge last year’s disappointing NCAA Tournament showing. The Fighting Illini were bounced in the round of 32 as a 1-seed by noted giant slayer Loyola Chicago.

Chattanooga vs Illinois Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Chattanooga Mocs +310 +8.5Β  (-113) O 135.5 (-110)
Illinois Fighting Illini -400 -8.5Β  (-107) U 135.5 (-110)

Odds as of March 16th at Barstool Sportsbook.

 

Four of Illinois’ starters were members of last year’s disappointment, including Kofi Cockburn one of the top players in the nation.The Fighting Illini are 8.5-point favorites over the Mocs, in a contest that features a total of 135.5. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:50pm ET at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA, with TNT providing the broadcast coverage.

Just a reminder before placing any bets this week, make sure to consult SBD’s March Madness betting promos. Online sportsbooks are literally giving money away in an effort to attract new clients.

Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Analysis

After a stellar 15-5 record in the Big Ten regular season, Illinois was upset in the quarterfinal of the conference tournament by Indiana. The Fighting Illini had a dismal day from the field shooting just 35.7%, but there is a sliver lining to the defeat.

Last year, head coach Brad Underwood said the program was gassed after their championship run in the Big Ten Tournament, which contributed to their early March Madness exit. They won’t have to worry about tired legs this season, which makes them an intriguing Final Four odds candidate if you think they can possibly upset Arizona later on in the tournament.

The Fighting Illini are led by Cockburn, a finalist in the Wooden Award odds. The 7-foot junior is averaging 21 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, making him one of the few players in the nation to average a double-double.

Illinois ranks top-40 in the country in average score margin (8.1), assists (15.4) and rebounds (38.6) per game, as well as three-point field goal percentage (36.7%).

Defensively, they hold opponents to 67 points per game, while yielding the 31st lowest effective field goal percentage (46.3%), and just 5.7 three’s per outing.

They went 7-3 down the stretch, posting six wins over teams featured in the NCAA Tournament odds.

Chattanooga Mocs Betting Analysis

The Mocs meanwhile, booked their spot in the March Madness bracket with a desperation, game-winning three at the buzzer in the Southern Conference Title game.

They broke the hearts of Furman, who was seeking its first NCAA Tournament appearance in over 30 years, while securing their 12th March Madness berth all-time.

Chattanooga is strong, but not spectacular at both ends of the court. Led by sophomore guard Malachi Smith’s 20 point scoring average, they put up 73 points per game, while shooting 46% from the field. However, they don’t rebound or distribute particularly well.

Defensively, they yield 65.8 points per game, while holding enemy shooters to 30.6% from three. Unfortunately, they don’t force turnovers and struggle to keep opponents off the glass. They rank 201st in defensive rebounds per game, which could definitely burn them given Cockburn’s dominant presence down low.

The Mocs did win nine of 11 games down the stretch, but it’s important to note the competition. They didn’t beat a single March Madness team all year, losing to the lone one they faced (Murray State) by 11.

Chattanooga vs Illinois Pick

Both of these teams like to play slow which explains the low total. However, there’s an argument to be made the number isn’t nearly low enough. Illinois ranks 177th in the nation in raw tempo and 263rd in average possession length. Not to be outdone, Chattanooga ranks 301st and 319th in those two categories.

The Fighting Illini is 10-1 versus teams like the Mocs this season that rank outside the top-70, yielding an average of just 61.5 points in those games. Illinois has seen each of its last three games fall under the total, while the under is 3-1 in Chattanooga’s last four outings, and 3-0 in the Mocs’ last four contests versus top-100 ranked competition.

Pick: Under 135.5 (-110)


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