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Picks, prediction for Illinois vs. Arkansas in First Round of 2023 NCAA Tournament

We go over the odds and betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook for Illinois vs. Arkansas in the First Round of 2023 March Madness.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The No. 8 Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12, 11-9 Big Ten) and No. 9 Arkansas Razorbacks (20-13, 8-10 SEC) will start NCAA Tournament play on Thursday. The game will get started at 4:30 p.m. ET from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, and can be seen on TBS.

Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.

No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 Arkansas picks

Spread: Arkansas -1.5
Over/Under: 143.5
Moneyline: Arkansas -130, Illinois +110

Illinois lost three of its last four games with a fifth-place finish in the Big Ten regular season standings and was knocked out in the second round of the conference tournament. Arkansas lost four of its last five for a ninth-place finish in the SEC and exited in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament.

The Razorbacks are 13 spots higher than the Illini in overall KenPom rating, and they’re rated higher in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. The biggest strength in his game is the Arkansas D that rates 15th in that category, and that will be the difference in the Razorbacks moving on to the next round.

Pick: Arkansas -1.5