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Opening Illinois vs UConn Odds for the Elite Eight – Spread, Moneyline & Total

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Updated Mar 28, 2024 · 9:40 PM PDT

Connecticut Huskies players walking off the court
Mar 28, 2024; Boston, MA, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Cam Spencer (12) and guard Tristen Newton (2), forward Alex Karaban (11) react against the San Diego State Aztecs in the semifinals of the East Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
  • The #1 UConn Huskies will face the #3 Illinois Fighting Illini in the 2024 Elite Eight in the East Region
  • The Huskies have opened as favorites
  • See the opening Illinois vs UConn odds, including the spread, moneyline, and game total for Saturday’s game at TD Garden in Boston

On a quest to become the first repeat national champions since the Florida Gators in 2006 and 2007, the #1 UConn Huskies have already gotten further than any reigning champion since by reaching the Elite Eight. On Thursday night, the Huskies punched their ticket to the East Region final with an 82-52 win over San Diego State .

Standing in the tracks, awaiting the UConn freight train, will be the #3 Illinois Fighting Illini, who took down #2 Iowa State in the late game at TD Garden.

The opening Illinois vs UConn odds heavily favor the reigning-champion Huskies.

Illinois vs UConn Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
#3 Illinois Fighting Illini +7.5 (-110) +260 O 156.5 (-115)
#1 UConn Huskies -7.5 (-110) -325 U 156.5 (-105)

The Huskies are 7.5-point favorites in the opening Illinois vs UConn odds and -325to win straight-up. The Illini come back as +260 moneyline underdogs, while the total has opened at 156.5.

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UConn has been the East Region favorite from the outset, opening at +110 to win the East in the Final Four odds on Selection Sunday. Coming off a Big Ten Tournament win, Illinois was +700 in the Final Four odds ten days ago.

UConn Wins Ninth Straight NCAA Tournament Game by Double-Digits

With Thursday’s 82-52 demolition of #5 San Diego State, the Huskies now have a 28.7 average margin of victory in this year’s NCAA Tournament, and have won each of their last nine March Madness games by at least 13 points dating back to last season’s tear through the bracket.

UConn didn’t shoot particularly well on Thursday night against the Aztecs (46.2% from the field and 38.5% from three) but they finished with a +21 rebounding margin while limiting the Aztecs to just 36.2% from the floor.

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Cam Spencer finished with a team-high 18 points while Tristen Newton and Stephon Castle added 17 and 16, respectively.

The Huskies already rated first in adjusted efficiency at KenPom prior to the victory over SDSU, and will only see its +33.14 rating rise. To put that number in perspective, last year’s title-winning team finished at just +29.86.

Illinois’ Offense Stays Hot

While Illinois’ run of four 80-point games was stopped by Iowa State – the nation’s top defense in terms of efficiency – Terrence Shannon Jr and company still put on an impressive display against the Cyclones on Thursday night.

At the 14-minute mark, Shannon was personally outscoring the Cyclones (14-12) while his Illini held a 12-point cushion. Iowa State showed its championship mettle in coming back from a ten-point halftime deficit (36-26) in the second half, narrowing the gap to two (53-51) with 5:48 to play. But Shannon proved too much down the stretch in Illinois’ 72-69 win.

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The nation’s third-leading scorer (23.3 PPG) finished with 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field.

In the first round, Illinois ran over #14 Morehead State (85-69) and followed that up with an 89-63 blowout of #11 Duquesne with Shannon scoring 26 in round one and 30 in round two.

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