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March Madness Picks: Bet Illinois ATS vs Morehead State

Illinois comes into the NCAA Tournament off a run to the Big Ten tournament title, and our March Madness prediction for the Illini is to cruise over Morehead State in their first-round matchup in the East Region on Thursday. Not that the Eagles are going to be a typical pushover as a No. 14 seed, but we like the third-seeded Illini to pick up an easy victory on their way to the second round..

Morehead State is on a six-game winning streak, including winning three games in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament to earn its spot in the Field of 68. But Illinois is a different opponent than anyone in the OVC, and one of our March Madness picks is for the Big Ten school to advance easily.

March Madness Picks: Bet Illinois ATS vs Morehead State
March Madness Picks: Bet Illinois ATS vs Morehead State


Morehead State vs Illinois Game Information

  • Game: Morehead State (26-8) vs Illinois (26-8)
  • Date/Time: Thursday, March 21, 3:10 p.m. ET
  • Location: CHI Health Center Omaha, Omaha, Neb.
  • Morehead State vs Illinois Live Stream: TBS.com


This is just the second meeting between these two schools, with the first being a 35-point Illini victory at home during the 1993-94 season. The NCAAB lines for this contest have Illinois favored by 12 points, with the over/under for the contest set at 148 points.


Morehead State vs Illinois Odds and Spreads



  • Morehead State is 4-0 ATS in its last four games as an underdog.
  • Illinois is 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven games played on a Thursday.
  • The over is 6-0 in the Fighting Illini’s last six neutral-site games in which they were a favorite.
  • The Eagles are 3-4 as an underdog this season.
  • The over is 24-10-0 in Illinois’ 34 games in 2023-24.
  • Morehead State is 18-11-1 ATS this season.
  • Illinois is 0-4 ATS in its last four NCAA Tournament games.
  • The under is 15-15-0 in Morehead State’s 30 games this season.


Morehead State vs Illinois Over/Under Pick: Over 148

The Illini can really light up the scoreboard, tying for eighth in the country in scoring offense with 84.4 points per game. Morehead State isn’t that far behind either, putting up 77.0 points per contest. With that in mind, it seems pretty obvious that one of your March Madness picks for this game should be the over.

The biggest offensive threat for either team is Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr., who has really put things together of late. Shannon is averaging 23.0 points to rank third in the nation, and he was the catalyst for the Illini’s run to the Big Ten tourney title, averaging 34.0 points in the team’s three victories. Look for Shannon to be aggressive getting to the hoop and out on the break to help propel the Illini scoring attack and push this game to the over.



Morehead State vs Illinois ATS Pick: Illinois -12

Morehead State has its own star player in senior guard Riley Minix, who averages 20.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. Minix has also been hot over the last few games, scoring 26 in both the semifinals and title game in the OVC tournament. Illinois isn’t exactly a defensive team, giving up 82.7 points per game, so the Eagles should be able to find some openings.

But what Illinois does have is relentless pressure from a number of players on the offensive end. One of the reasons the Illini’s odds to win March Madness are near the top of the list is their versatility, with players like Marcus Domask (16.0 points), Coleman Hawkins (12.4) and Quincy Guerrier (10.0) all able to score from the perimeter and in the paint.



Morehead State vs Illinois Prop Pick: Coleman Hawkins Over 10½ points (-110)

As stated above, Shannon is the main offensive weapon for coach Brad Underwood’s squad, but Hawkins can come up with big scoring games too. With all of the attention that Shannon will draw from the Morehead State defense, Hawkins should find himself with some openings, plus he is good on the offensive glass, giving him scoring opportunities. This number is lower because Hawkins hasn’t scored in double-digits in his last four games, but that just means he’s due for a big scoring game, so take the over on his scoring when you do your betting online.


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Morehead State vs Illinois Score Prediction

Illinois 82, Morehead State 68





Questions Of The Day

Have Morehead State and Illinois faced each other in the NCAA Tournament before?

This is just the second meeting between these teams all-time, with the first coming during the regular season in 1993.

Who does the winner of the Morehead State vs Illinois game face next?

The winner of this contest advances to the second round of the East Region, where they’ll face the winner of the first-round game between BYU and Duquesne on Saturday.


The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.

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